Paulo Dybala has been named Serie A MVP for the 2019-20 season after playing a starring role in Juventus' successful title defence - but Cristiano Ronaldo missed out in the list of individual honours. 

Dybala scored 11 goals and provided six assists in the league as the Bianconeri were crowned champions in Italy for a ninth successive year. 

The Argentina international came out on top of the rankings, according to Stats Perform statistical surveys aided by tracking data. Information was collected from Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana games, as well as Serie A. 

Ronaldo scored 31 goals for Juve but the Portuguese was pipped to the best forward award by Ciro Immobile, who equalled Gonzalo Higuain's competition record for goals in a single season with 36 for Lazio. 

There was further success for the champions, however, as Wojciech Szczesny was named best goalkeeper, with Inter's Stefan de Vrij the top defender. 

Alejandro Gomez was rewarded for helping Atalanta finish third for a second successive season, the Argentine playmaker announced as the leading midfielder.  

Dejan Kulusevski, meanwhile, was named young player of the season after impressing on loan at Parma. 

The 20-year-old Swede was signed by Juventus from Atalanta in the January window, though remained at the Ennio Tardini for the remainder of the campaign.

"It was a difficult year, but these players have proven their talents in all the matches they played with great performances," Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Serie A, said in a statement announcing the winners.

"We want to thank all the athletes for their professionalism, commitment and sacrifice."

There was a predictable champion at the end of the 2019-20 Serie A campaign as Juventus clinched a ninth successive Scudetto, and their success is reflected in Opta's Team of the Season. 

Although Juve finished 2019-20 just a point ahead of second-placed Inter, they had wrapped up the title with two games to go – beating Sampdoria 2-0 on July 26.

Cristiano Ronaldo was unsurprisingly key, finishing as his team's top scorer, but for much of the season there were a few sides that looked like they might push Juve all the way.

Inter, Atalanta and Lazio all had their moments where they were able to dream and they each had individuals who impressed.

Following the conclusion on the campaign on Sunday, we teamed up with Opta to outline the Serie A Team of the Season.

OPTA'S SERIE A TEAM OF THE SEASON

GK: Wojciech Szczesny, Juventus

Poland international Szczesny has come a long way since struggling in the latter part of his Arsenal career. He was once again a dependable option between the posts, remaining first choice despite the return of Gianluigi Buffon. He ended the season with a 74.4 per cent save success rate, the best of the Serie A goalkeepers to have played 20 or more times.

RB: Juan Cuadrado, Juventus

Hardly the most convincing of defenders, granted, but Cuadrado boasts the versatility to play in a few roles down the right flank and he became an important figure for Maurizio Sarri – his 28 Serie A starts is just one fewer than he managed in the previous two seasons combined. The Colombian was certainly influential, too, as he was involved in more open-play sequences that ended with a shot made by someone else (132) than any other player this term. He also chipped in with two goals and five assists.

CB: Stefan de Vrij, Inter

No team conceded fewer goals in Serie A this season than an Inter side that Antonio Conte ensured was well-drilled. Netherlands centre-back De Vrij played a major role in that as he featured 34 times – though his efforts were not notable just for his defensive effectiveness. The former Feyenoord man scored three goals and also set up another three, making him the most productive centre-back in the league in this regard.

CB: Francesco Acerbi, Lazio

After Inter, the next-best defensive unit in Serie A was Lazio, who let in 42 (six more than Conte's men). Acerbi missed just two games all season and his form at the start of the season also saw him make three starts for Italy. The 32-year-old has proven himself to be one of Serie A's best stoppers, as evidenced by the fact he was dribbled past just six times this term. No other outfield player with more than 35 appearances did better than that.

LB: Theo Hernandez, Milan

Former France youth international Hernandez has rediscovered the early promise he showed during a fine loan spell at Deportivo Alaves in 2016-17. While question marks remain over his defensive abilities, the Atletico Madrid youth product has excited with his attacking tendencies in 2019-20. No defender completed more dribbles (57) than him, while he also had a hand in nine goals (six goals, three assists).

CM: Luis Alberto, Lazio

Since leaving Liverpool for Rome in 2016, Luis Alberto has arguably developed into one of the world's best creative midfielders. The Spain international sees passes few others can and he has put that to particularly good use in 2019-20, with his 106 chances created being a Serie A high. Similarly, his 15 assists was second only to Alejandro Gomez (16), as he helped Simone Inzaghi's men mount a title challenge. Often linked with a return home to Sevilla, Lazio will surely be doing everything they can to keep Luis Alberto at Stadio Olimpico.

CM: Fabian Ruiz, Napoli

The other half of a Seville-centric midfield, Real Betis product Fabian probably hasn't impressed quite as much as he did in 2018-19, but he has nevertheless continued to show plenty of promise. Still only 24, Fabian attempted the most passes (2,331) of any player in the league this season, while he had a hand in nine goals, the same amount as in the previous campaign.

AM: Alejandro Gomez, Atalanta

Like a fine wine, 'Papu' Gomez just seems to get better with age. Now 32, the Argentinian has enjoyed a fantastic season for the often-exhilarating Atalanta. He scored seven goals for a second successive season, but his haul of 16 assists is five more than 2018-19. That figure is the highest since Opta records began in 2004-05.

FWD: Paulo Dybala, Juventus

The Sarri-Juventus combination continues to puzzle many, but if there's one thing he has got right, it's helping Dybala get back to something resembling his best. He had been strongly linked with a move away last year, but Dybala was involved in 17 Serie A goals this term (11 goals, six assists) and managed to coexist with Ronaldo more effectively. Of his 11 strikes, eight (73 per cent) were the opening goals of matches, the biggest quantity among players with 10 or more.

FWD: Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus

Considering there being murmurs of discontent between himself and Sarri, and suggestions the coach hasn't been able to get the best out of the Portugal great, Ronaldo's had a pretty effective year. With 31 league goals, it's been his best goal-scoring campaign domestically since getting 35 with Real Madrid in 2015-16, while his goals have secured 24 points, more than any other player.

FWD: Ciro Immobile, Lazio

What a season Immobile has had. With 36 league goals, the Italy international equalled Gonzalo Higuain's record for a single campaign, while that haul also won him the coveted European Golden Shoe. On top of that, his record of nine assists was bettered by only Gomez, Luis Alberto and Domenico Berardi. If he can keep it up, Lazio will surely fancy themselves of challenging Juve again next term.

Ciro Immobile completed a sensational individual season by scoring against Napoli in Lazio's final Serie A outing.

The 30-year-old's first-half strike in Saturday's 3-1 defeat was his 36th goal in 37 top-flight appearances during 2019-20.

That astonishing return secured Immobile the Capocannoniere as Serie A's top scorer, along with the coveted European Golden Shoe.

Here, with some help from Opta Paolo, we take a look at his special efforts.

 

Joining Serie A's elite

If Immobile had managed a brace at Stadio San Paolo, he would have boasted the outright best season in Serie A history.

As it is, his 36 goals equalled the best mark in a single campaign set by Gonzalo Higuain in his Napoli days in 2015-16.

Immobile is only the fifth Italian to hit the 30-goal mark in his native country's premier competition, following Giuseppe Meazza (1929-30), Felice Borel (1933-34), Antonio Angelillo (1958-59) and Luca Toni (2005-06).

Golden days

Toni's prolific 2005-06 with Fiorentina made him the first Italian to be crowned the leading marksman in Europe, with Roma great Francesco Totti following suit the next season.

Immobile becomes the third Italian on that list and the first winner from Serie A since Totti.

In the intervening period, 10 of the 13 Golden Shoes have found predictable homes, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo winning six and four respectively.

Messi's Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez has two, while the latter's countryman Diego Forlan came out on top thanks to a bountiful 2008-09 at Atletico Madrid.

Ronaldo's 2007-08 campaign at Manchester United and Suarez's 2013-14 for Liverpool marked the only two times the award had been outside LaLiga in between Totti and Immobile's triumphs.

Making history at Lazio

Immobile is the third player to pass 100 goals in Serie A for Lazio, with his tally now at 103.

Club greats Silvio Piola and Giuseppe Signori are the Biancocelesti's other centurions.

Piola scored 143 in Serie A, while Signori is now just four ahead of Immobile on 107.

All of Immobile's Serie A goals for Lazio have come under Simone Inzaghi, amounting to the biggest haul for any player under a single head coach during Italy's three-points-for-a-win era, which began in 1994-95.

Inzaghi is developing his leading forward's game in more than one aspect. Immobile scored and supplied at least one assist in six Serie A games in 2019-20 – more than any other campaign in his career.

He finished the season with nine assists to his name.

Ciro Immobile completed a sensational individual season by scoring against Napoli in Lazio's final Serie A outing.

The 30-year-old's first-half strike in Saturday's 3-1 defeat was his 36th goal in 37 top-flight appearances during 2019-20.

That astonishing return secured Immobile the Capocannoniere as Serie A's top scorer, along with the coveted European Golden Shoe.

Here, with some help from Opta Paolo, we take a look at his special efforts.

 

Joining Serie A's elite

If Immobile had managed a brace at Stadio San Paolo, he would have boasted the outright best season in Serie A history.

As it is, his 36 goals equalled the best mark in a single campaign set by Gonzalo Higuain in his Napoli days in 2015-16.

Immobile is only the fifth Italian to hit the 30-goal mark in his native country's premier competition, following Giuseppe Meazza (1929-30), Felice Borel (1933-34), Antonio Angelillo (1958-59) and Luca Toni (2005-06).

Golden days

Toni's prolific 2005-06 with Fiorentina made him the first Italian to be crowned the leading marksman in Europe, with Roma great Francesco Totti following suit the next season.

Immobile becomes the third Italian on that list and the first winner from Serie A since Totti.

In the intervening period, 10 of the 13 Golden Boots have found predictable homes, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo winning six and four respectively.

Messi's Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez has two, while the latter's countryman Diego Forlan came out on top thanks to a bountiful 2008-09 at Atletico Madrid.

Ronaldo's 2007-08 campaign at Manchester United and Suarez's 2013-14 for Liverpool marked the only two times the award had been outside LaLiga in between Totti and Immobile's triumphs.

Making history at Lazio

Immobile is the third player to pass 100 goals in Serie A for Lazio, with his tally now at 103.

Club greats Silvio Piola and Giuseppe Signori are the Biancocelesti's other centurions.

Piola scored 143 in Serie A, while Signori is now just four ahead of Immobile on 107.

All of Immobile's Serie A goals for Lazio have come under Simone Inzaghi, amounting to the biggest haul for any player under a single head coach during Italy's three-points-for-a-win era, which began in 1994-95.

Inzaghi is developing his leading forward's game in more than one aspect. Immobile scored and supplied at least one assist in six Serie A games in 2019-20 – more than any other campaign in his career.

He finished the season with nine assists to his name.

Lazio star Ciro Immobile said "dreams do come true" after equalling Serie A's goalscoring record and claiming the European Golden Shoe for 2019-20.

Immobile tied Gonzalo Higuain's record for most goals in a Serie A season with 36 after scoring in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Napoli.

The 30-year-old Italy forward matched the feat achieved by Higuain in 2015-16, while also collecting the coveted Golden Shoe award for the highest goalscorer in European football.

Immobile outscored the likes of Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (34), Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (31) and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi (25).

"I am super happy and proud of what I've achieved, especially when I look back to where I started and everything I went through," Immobile told Lazio Style Channel.

"If you truly believe, sometimes, dreams do come true. I can only thank the coach and staff, my team-mates, and I can assure you these records are for the whole team.

"I also thank the Lazio fans, who made me feel indispensable for this team, and I am so proud of that. I want to be a living example that if you never give up, you can achieve any target.

"I'm so proud to have my place in the history of this sport. I am moved thinking of how my team-mates greeted me in the dressing room after I scored a hat-trick at Verona. That's what the sport is about."

Lazio, who qualified for the Champions League, ended the season in fourth position, having challenged for the Scudetto prior to the coronavirus-enforced break.

 

Ciro Immobile tied Gonzalo Higuain's record for most goals in a Serie A season, while his tally of 36 also means he finishes as the European Golden Shoe winner for 2019-20.

Lazio's prized asset was on target in a 3-1 defeat to Napoli as Simone Inzaghi's side ended their domestic campaign in fourth, with their title challenge falling apart upon Serie A's resumption following the coronavirus-enforced break.

Immobile's return matches that achieved by Higuain in the 2015-16 campaign when the Argentine striker was playing for Napoli.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed his most prolific campaign in front of goal and was all but guaranteed to finish as Serie A's top scorer when Juventus opted to rest Cristiano Ronaldo for their own finale against Roma.

Consequently, Immobile also collected the coveted Golden Shoe award for the highest goalscorer in European football.

Immobile outscored the likes of Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (34), Ronaldo (31) and Lionel Messi (25) this season in a campaign where experienced strikers shone, with 33-year-old Jamie Vardy ending as the Premier League's Golden Boot winner with 23.

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare has refused to discount the prospect of signing David Silva on a free transfer.

Silva will leave Manchester City after the Champions League concludes, having spent a hugely successful 10 years at the Etihad Stadium.

There has been growing speculation the 34-year-old could move to Simone Inzaghi's side, who have secured a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2007-08.

Tare claims to have mutual friends of the midfielder but appeared keen to make it clear that any prospective deal is some way off.

"He's a great player, but I don't know where certain stories come from," Tare told Sky Sport Italia prior to Lazio's 2-0 Serie A win over Brescia on Wednesday.

"I've heard from mutual friends that he would like to have a different experience to England, but as is often said, there's a big difference between saying something and doing something."

The victory over Brescia, Lazio's third in a row after going five games without a win in the top flight, was secured through Joaquin Correa and Ciro Immobile.

Immobile has scored 35 goals in 36 league games this season and is on track to finish as Serie A top scorer and win the European Golden Shoe.

Tare wants the 30-year-old to be the focal point of Lazio's growth in the coming years.

"Without a doubt, the Lazio of the future will be built around him," Tare said. "He has a long contract, he's an important figure for this club, this team.

"The party his team-mates had in the dressing room after the match against Verona shows everything that's been built around him.

"He's had an incredible season but so have the whole team, who have always supported him.

"We need to exploit the Immobile brand and the Lazio brand. We're back in the Champions League after 13 years. We need to create a strategy, which we've already started with several initiatives, to lift these brands higher."

Jadon Sancho has long been linked with a move to Manchester United.

The former Manchester City youngster is reportedly ready to return to his native England after starring in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund.

With United's Champions League status confirmed, the Red Devils are ready to strike a deal.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED STEPPING UP SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United are prioritising the signing of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho as they cool on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, according to Sky Sports.

United are determined to bring Sancho to Old Trafford after securing Champions League qualification, though both clubs are yet to come to agreement on a transfer fee – Dortmund are reportedly holding out for €120m (£109m).

England international Sancho has previously been linked to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea.

It now looks unlikely that United will pursue Villa star Grealish, who is valued in excess of £80m by the Premier League side, with doubts over where he would fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell will demand he wants to leave the club in order to force a move to Chelsea, reports The Mirror. Chilwell has also been linked to Manchester City and Manchester United.

Everton want to sign Lazio star Ciro Immobile, says 90min. Immobile has scored a Serie A-high 34 goals for Lazio this season.

- According to Diario AS, Lazio are in talks to sign Manchester City great David Silva. The Spanish star is set to become a free agent following the Champions League campaign.

- Calciomercato claims Tottenham are eyeing Inter outcast Ivan Perisic. The Croatia international, who was linked to United during Jose Mourinho's time in Manchester, spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Milan are interested in signing Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The 22-year-old has also been linked to the likes of Napoli and United.

- Edinson Cavani has emerged as a possible understudy for Bayern star Robert Lewandowski, says Le10Sport. Cavani is a free agent since leaving Paris Saint-Germain and has been linked to Portuguese giants Benfica.

- According to Cadena Cope, Barcelona have contacted Villarreal to discuss defender Pau Torres, who has a €50m release clause.

- Qatari side Al Gharafa are interested in Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas, claims France Football.

Lazio defender Patric has been hit with a four-game suspension following his red card during Tuesday's 2-1 defeat to Lecce.

The Spaniard was dismissed by referee Fabio Maresca in stoppage time of the Serie A fixture, having been deemed to bite Lecce's Giulio Donati on the arm.

Felipe Caicedo had scored an early opener for Lazio on the road, only for the struggling hosts to turn the game around thanks to goals from Khouma Babacar and Fabio Lucioni either side of half-time.

The result was a further blow to Simone Inzaghi's squad in their pursuit of the title, though table-topping Juventus also suffered a surprise defeat in the late kick-off, going down 4-2 at Milan.

Lazio will now have to do without Patric for upcoming games against Sassuolo, Udinese and Cagliari, as well as the crunch clash with Juve on July 20. 

The disciplinary commission also handed down a €10,000 fine and he was not the only Lazio player to be punished.

Team-mate Ciro Immobile must fork out €1,500 for his protests as captain, while goalscorer Caicedo was given a €2,000 fine following a yellow card in the first half for simulation.

Milan will be without Samu Castillejo when they take on a Lazio team missing suspended duo Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile on Saturday.

Castillejo suffered a hamstring injury during the 2-2 draw with SPAL on Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in a week, meaning the Spanish winger will also miss the upcoming home game against Juventus.

His absence is a further blow for Milan coach Stefano Pioli after seeing his team drop two points against a side sitting in the relegation zone in midweek, hardly ideal preparations for a meeting with opponents occupying second spot in the table.

Lazio are hindered themselves by both top-scorer Immobile and fellow forward Caicedo missing the Stadio Olimpico clash. However, Pioli is aware of the dangers posed by Joaquin Correa, as he scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Milan back in November.

"Lazio are strong, they come from two important comebacks," Pioli told the media on Friday. "Immobile and Caicedo will be missed, but they have Correa. It will be a very complex game, especially from a tactical point of view.

"We are a different team [from the last meeting], many things have changed. We will have to be compact, smart and understand the key moments of the game.

"Lazio are a complete team. They are strong, but we also have to have confidence in ourselves."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his first appearance since the Italian season resumed during the game with SPAL, coming on as a 65th-minute substitute on his return from injury.

The Swedish striker could be set to play a greater part in proceedings against Lazio, Pioli revealed.

Asked about Ibrahimovic's fitness, he replied: "Maybe he doesn't know how many minutes he has in his legs. His condition will improve playing, on Thursday he did a good workout. I hope I can put more minutes in his legs on Saturday."

Lazio have rallied after falling behind to beat Fiorentina and Torino in their previous two league outings, leaving them four points behind leaders Juve in the title race.

"We are getting used to living with problems during this period," Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi told the media. "I'm convinced the team can play an excellent game regardless of formation and players.

"These guys are having a great season, I'm proud to be their coach. There are seven games left in the championship, we must take one game at a time."

Ciro Immobile equalled Lazio's goalscoring record for a single Serie A season as they kept up the pressure on leaders Juventus with a 2-1 win at Torino.

Playing ahead of Juve on Tuesday, Lazio came from behind to defeat Torino and move – temporarily at least – to within a point of Maurizio Sarri's side

Immobile was key to their result, scoring his 29th league goal of the campaign in the 48th minute to cancel out Andrea Belotti's early opener.

Immobile's low strike from the left side of the area into the bottom-right corner saw him equal a club record he set in 2017-18.

The only player to have scored more goals after 29 games in a Serie A season was Antonio Angelillo with 31 in 1958-59.

Italy international Immobile, playing against his former club, was not done there, however, and teed up Marco Parolo to secure the points and keep Lazio right on Juve's heels.

Jadon Sancho's future could be resolved sooner rather than later.

The England international is tipped to return to his homeland after leaving Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

Premier League leaders Liverpool are reportedly at the front of the queue for the 20-year-old attacker.

 

TOP STORY – REDS IN POLE POSITION FOR SANCHO

Liverpool are leading the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to Le10 Sport.

Sancho is a player in demand, the former Manchester City youngster linked with a return to England via Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Real Madrid are also reportedly interested, but Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool appear to be favourites to land the England international if Sadio Mane leaves Anfield.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims United are considering a move for Lazio striker Ciro Immobile. The Italy international has scored a Serie A-high 27 goals this season amid links to Liverpool and Napoli.

Chelsea are not close to reaching an agreement over Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, says The Athletic. Chelsea have emerged as favourites to sign Havertz, who is also reportedly wanted by United, Liverpool, Madrid and Barcelona. But Chelsea – who are set to bring RB Leipzig's Timo Werner to Stamford Bridge – are apparently nowhere near matching Leverkusen's asking price.

- The Independent reports Dortmund are set to beat United to Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. The 16-year-old is coveted by Dortmund and United, however, the Bundesliga side are viewed as the more attractive option to give the wonderkid game time.

- Could Dries Mertens leave Napoli for Barcelona? Mertens' contract is set to expire, though the Belgium forward has been tipped to sign an extension. Het Nieuwsblad says Barca could turn to the Napoli star if they are unable to prise Lautaro Martinez from Inter.

Chelsea believe Champions League football will convince Leicester City's Ben Chilwell to snub Manchester City for the London club, according to the Daily Mail. Chelsea have been linked to another full-back – France Football claims the Blues are eyeing Paris Saint-Germain's Layvin Kurzawa, who is available on a free transfer and wanted by the likes of Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter.

- Tuttosport says Inter are targeting Nice centre-back Malang Sarr. The 21-year-old has also been linked to Pep Guardiola's City.

- According to The Telegraph, Barca are prepared to pay a portion of Philippe Coutinho's wage to help the Brazilian leave Camp Nou. Tottenham and Newcastle United are possible destinations.

Liverpool are eyeing a double transfer raid on Wolves for stars Ruben Neves and Adama Traore, says The Sun.

Ciro Immobile compared Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, while the Italy star revealed his Napoli dream.

Inzaghi's Lazio were only a point behind defending champions and leaders Juventus through 26 games when Serie A was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lazio have also tasted Coppa Italia (2019) and Supercoppa Italiana (2017 and 2019) success under Inzaghi, who was appointed in 2016.

Immobile worked with Klopp during the pair's time together at Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund in 2014-15 and the Lazio striker heaped praise on the German and Inzaghi.

"Klopp is a great expert in football and I always said that I'd have liked to work with him when I was in my best form. He is a complete coach, he has everything," Immobile said on Instagram Live chat with Er Faina.

"Having said that, he really reminds me of Simone Inzaghi, as they are very similar in their motivational skills, albeit in slightly different ways."

Immobile had scored an incredible 27 Serie A goals this season when the campaign was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

With 12 games left to play, Immobile is nearing Gonzalo Higuain's record of 36 goals in a single Serie A season, set with Napoli in 2015-16.

Immobile has flourished since returning to Italy via Lazio in 2016 and the 30-year-old addressed previous links to hometown club Napoli and Liverpool as he addressed his future.

"I was close to Napoli and it's true that I did hope to one day play for them, but I am so happy here that after arriving at Lazio, I stopped thinking about it," Immobile said.

"I don't know if I'll end my career here. Perhaps by the time I am 33, Lazio will be so successful that they need more important players than me. I don't like to be a burden on anyone. I'll keep giving my all for this jersey as long as I can.

"Inzaghi is certainly the coach I got along best with. We had that brief discussion when I reacted angrily to a substitution, but he dealt with it the right way. I know him and he knows me."

Charles Leclerc claimed a second straight victory in Formula One's Virtual Grand Prix series on Sunday, despite Thibaut Courtois tactically blocking him for Red Bull.

After coming first in the previous race around the Albert Park circuit, pole-sitter Leclerc took the chequered flag for FDA Hublot Esports Team in the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix in impressive fashion.

Alexander Albon was unable to find a way past the Monegasque and had to settle for second after 28 laps, with Renault's Guanyu Zhou rounding out the top three.

Real Madrid star Courtois may have finished in 16th but he proved to be a great team-mate when, on lap nine, he let Albon past him but refused to allow Leclerc to follow.

Albon said of Courtois: "He's so fast. Thibaut's been driving with us quite a bit in practice sessions and when I first started testing he was quicker than me and I was getting worried about my job.

"He even did team tactics. He held up Charles for a couple of corners, so it was good fun!"

Lazio star Ciro Immobile is eyeing Gonzalo Higuain's Serie A goalscoring record when the season resumes.

Immobile had scored an incredible 27 Serie A goals this season when the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With 12 games left to play, Immobile is nearing Higuain's record of 36 goals in a single Serie A season, set with Napoli in 2015-16.

The 30-year-old hopes he can reach that mark, telling Sky Sport on Monday: "I don't know. It depends.

"I'm training hard to achieve this goal. Everyone has their own. It would be nice.

"It's like the Easter egg. We'll see what the surprise will be when we get back on the field. I'll do my best."

Immobile had helped Lazio sit second in the table, just a point behind Juventus, when the season was stopped.

The Italy international said the club would be setting their sights on a first Serie A title since 1999-2000.

"The ambitions remain. It is obvious that at this moment we have thought little about football," Immobile said.

"When the time to get back on the field is getting closer, we will have to be good at preparing ourselves mentally because there will be 12 very important matches to continue our dream."

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