Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich appear to be keen on adding more local talent to their squad.

Spaniard Thiago Alcantara is reportedly unwilling to extend his Bayern contract beyond 2020-21.

So, Bayern could use the star midfielder in their efforts to prise Germany international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT THIAGO OUT AND HAVERTZ IN

Bayern Munich want to sell Thiago Alcantara to fund their move for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to Kicker.

Thiago reportedly wants to leave Bayern amid links to Liverpool after opting against a new deal in Bavaria.

Now, Bayern are looking to offload Thiago for €60million (£53m) in order to sign Havertz for €80m.

Havertz has also been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in Munich and Kicker also claims Bayern have joined Borussia Dortmund and United in the race for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham.

- TF1 says Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has been in contact with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Inter over an exit from London.

Liverpool have made a big offer to sign Wolves speedster Adama Traore, according to Mundo Deportivo. Traore has also been linked to the likes of Barca and Madrid.

- According to Fichajes, Tottenham have made an offer for in-demand Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The likes of Napoli, Everton and Madrid are also looking to sign the Brazilian.

- Is Hellas Verona's Marash Kumbulla set for Lazio? Gianluca Di Marzio reports Lazio have tabled an offer for the defender, who is also wanted by Juventus and Inter.

- Could Tanguy Ndombele and Philippe Coutinho swap clubs? The Independent says Barca have reached out to Tottenham over an exchange deal involving either Coutinho or Nelson Semedo for wantaway Spurs midfielder Ndombele.

Arsenal could make moves for Chelsea's Willian or Coutinho, according to the Daily Mail.

Milan are in talks over the return of Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, says Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at San Siro.

Kalidou Koulibaly has been a man in demand for quite some time.

Clubs in Europe have reportedly queued up to sign the Napoli centre-back.

Koulibaly could finally get his move, with a Premier League giant reportedly working on a deal.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONTRUNNERS FOR KOULIBALY

Manchester City are favourites to prise Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a Napoli exit – City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reported admirers.

But it seems the star defender is more likely to join Pep Guardiola's City than Premier League leaders Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is among the alternatives to Inter's Lautaro Martinez for Barcelona, says Sky Sport Italia. Barca want to sign Martinez but the LaLiga champions are struggling to meet Inter's demands. Now Cavani, who will not sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain and is a free agent, could end up at Camp Nou. The Uruguayan forward has also been linked to Inter and Atletico Madrid. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the list, though Juventus are reportedly eyeing the disgruntled Gabon international.

Juve and Barca have reached an agreement over a swap deal involving Arthur and Miralem Pjanic, reports Goal. Arthur had been reluctant to leave Barca for Juve but the Spanish giants could receive a fee of €70million.

Liverpool are frontrunners to sign Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Bild. The Spanish midfielder had been set to extend his contract but he has apparently backed out of a new deal.

Borussia Dortmund may keep Jadon Sancho after all. The England international has been tipped to join United at the end of the season. Unless Dortmund receive £117m (€130m), they will continue with Sancho, reports Sport Bild, which also claims the Bundesliga club could offer a bumper new deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Lazio and Inter are battling over the signing of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. Inter have reportedly made a €25milion offer for Kumbulla, who has also been linked to Juve.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are going head-to-head for Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, claims WinSports. Chelsea are believed to have submitted an offer worth £8m (€8.8m) more than Madrid's bid.

Fred is ready to discuss a new long-term contract with United, the Sun reports. After a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, the Brazilian has established himself as a key member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

- According to Le10 Sport, Madrid and Barca are interested in Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich… take your pick.

Kai Havertz is not short of options following his stunning form for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

As clubs queue up to sign Havertz, a Premier League giant is reportedly leading the race.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD FAVOURITES FOR HAVERTZ

Manchester United are favourites to sign in-demand Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to The Sun.

Havertz has been linked to the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid after his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen.

United are ready to swoop for Havertz, as well as Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport says Paul Pogba is open to swapping United for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. Linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga giants Madrid, PSG have emerged as a possible destination for the disgruntled Frenchman.

Manchester City are determined to sign Juve centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, but Calciomercato claims the Serie A holders are unwilling to sell the key defender.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona are positive about signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter following Mauro Icardi's move to PSG. Inter recouped at least €50million after Icardi's loan deal at PSG became permanent. While Barca are aware it will be difficult to prise Martinez to Camp Nou, the LaLiga champions view Icardi's transfer positively.

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho, according to the Daily Express. Coutinho has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern but the German giants opted not to exercise their transfer option. Now, Chelsea are prepared to bring the former Liverpool star back to the Premier League on loan. Tottenham have also been linked.

- Juve's Douglas Costa is wanted by Atletico Madrid. That is according to Calciomercato, which claims Atletico want to bring in the Brazilian attacker in exchange for either Thomas Partey or Stefan Savic. Douglas Costa has been linked to United, while Arsenal are eyeing Partey.

Milan will meet with potential new head coach Ralf Rangnick, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. The Rossoneri continue to be linked to Rangnick while Stefano Pioli remains in charge.

- La Repubblica claims Juve have entered the race for Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. The 20-year-old has been linked to the likes of Napoli, Lazio, Fiorentina, United, Tottenham, Chelsea, PSG and RB Leipzig.

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

Leicester City fans could be forgiven for still thinking the images of Andrea Bocelli belting out 'Nessun Dorma' on the King Power Stadium pitch and their heroes lifting the Premier League title were part of a wonderful dream.

Sports quiz aficionados of the future are likely to scratch their chins and rack their brains when trying to remember Wes Morgan as a title-winning captain.

Indeed, had any of these scenarios been presented as possibilities prior to the 2015-16 campaign, the orator of such suggestions would likely have had to contend with a fair amount of pointing, laughing and concerned looks.

And yet, despite pre-season odds of 5,000-1, Claudio Ranieri's cunning Foxes outlasted challenges from the Premier League's big hitters to complete a fairytale story that resonated throughout the world of football.

May 2 marks four years to the day since Leicester's moment of glory was confirmed after Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Chelsea, and to mark the occasion we have looked back at some of the most unlikely title triumphs in football history.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1977-78:

When Brian Clough took over at the City Ground in January 1975, Forest were languishing down in the old Second Division. A couple of years later Forest were promoted and under the stewardship of the maverick Clough they were crowned champions in their first season back in the top flight. Forest went on to win the European Cup in 1979 and 1980 in a golden era for the club.

HELLAS VERONA 1984-85:

In modern times Hellas Verona are known as a perennial yo-yo club, flitting between Serie A and B. But in the mid-80s, led by Osvaldo Bagnoli, they were top of a star-studded pile. In a league including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Inter), Michel Platini (Juventus) and Diego Maradona (Napoli), a well-crafted Verona side sat top of the pile in a shock considered one of the greatest in Italian football.

SAMPDORIA 1990-91:

Just six years on, and with Juventus, Napoli (twice), Milan and Inter each having won the title, there was another surprise in Italian football as Sampdoria became champions for the first time. Yugoslav coach Vujadin Boskov had already led Samp to two Coppa Italia successes and a European Cup Winners' Cup before a strikeforce of Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini inspired the crowning glory. Arrigo Sacchi's memorable Milan side fell short, while an Inter team including Italia '90 World Cup winners Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus and Andreas Brehme were third.

DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA 1999-2000:

Barcelona and Real Madrid may presently have a stranglehold on LaLiga, but back in the 99-00 campaign it was Deportivo, a modest provincial club in the south-west of Spain, that rocked the apple cart - in part thanks to the financing of former president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro. A squad including Roy Makaay, Pauleta and Flavio Conceicao celebrated a famous LaLiga title.

WOLFSBURG 2008-09:

Bayern Munich have historically ruled the roost in the Bundesliga, yet there were five different winners in eight seasons between 2001-02 and 2008-09. The last of those saw Wolfsburg crowned champions for the first time in their history. A 5-0 rout at Hannover was followed by a 5-1 hammering of Werder Bremen in the final game of the season to emphatically complete the job, with Bayern two points back in second. The goalscoring exploits of Grafite (28) and Edin Dzeko (26) were crucial for Felix Magath's side.

AZ 2008-09:

Turns out 2008-09 was a year for upsets. AZ's own success story was described as "my little masterpiece" by Louis van Gaal, who had joined in 2005 after the pressure cooker of life as Barcelona coach. A 28-match unbeaten run was pivotal for AZ, who were champions for just the second time, as they romped to glory ahead of more illustrious names in Dutch football.

MONTPELLIER 2011-12:

Paris Saint-Germain are the modern powerhouses of Ligue 1, but it was a different story in 2011-12, PSG's first season under their wealthy Qatari owners. And rather than the capital giants triumphing, it was unfancied Montpellier celebrating an unlikely success. PSG invested for the future by bringing Carlo Ancelotti to the Parc des Princes in December 2011 and the likes of Kevin Gameiro, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez had arrived in the close season. But on the back of Olivier Giroud's 21 goals, Montpellier celebrated their first – and as yet only - top-flight triumph, finishing three points clear of PSG.

LEICESTER CITY 2015-16:

It was an achievement that forced ex-England striker and famous Foxes fan Gary Lineker to present the first episode of the following season's Match of the Day in his pants (albeit only brief-ly). With N'Golo Kante's tireless performances in midfield, Riyad Mahrez's wizardry on the wing and Jamie Vardy's scoring exploits, the Foxes lost just three times in an unforgettable season and finished 10 points clear of Arsenal in second. The usual challengers may have endured plenty of misery but nothing will ever take the shine off a remarkable achievement.

Hellas Verona president Maurizio Setti said Italy is in a "war-like situation" as Serie A clubs try to strike a deal with players amid the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sport to a standstill – the 2019-20 Serie A season has been suspended since last month, with the most recent match on March 9.

There have been more than 69,300 deaths globally, with over 15,880 of those in Italy, a country which has the highest amount of fatalities in the world.

Amid negotiations with the Italian Players' Association (AIC) over player salaries during the league postponement, Setti told Sky Sport Italia: "Our position is very simple.

"We are in a war-like situation, so we need to sit around a table with calm, intelligence and openness, finding a solution that satisfies both parties.

"What's happening is immensely damaging for the whole world of football, so I trust there will be no problems finding a deal with my players, who are good people."

Serie A clubs could be allowed to finish the 2019-20 season as late as October, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

Gravina said the proposed date of May 17 to restart Serie A remains a possibility, but he insisted it would be best to allow 2019-20 to finish much later this year if necessary, rather than declare the season cancelled.

"I hope to play again this season," Setti added. "Finishing the campaign would be a way also of giving joy to the population, because the Italian people are so in love with this sport.

"I hope that we can get the campaign concluded and be able to close this chapter to slowly get back to normality."

 

Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini has tested positive for coronavirus, the Italian club have confirmed.

Gabbiadini is the second professional player in Serie A - after Juventus and Italy defender Daniele Rugani - to contract COVID-19.

"UC Sampdoria announces that Manolo Gabbiadini has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)," a club statement read.

"Gabbiadini has a slight fever but is otherwise fine. The club is activating all isolation procedures as set out by the authorities."

In a post on Twitter, Gabbiadini wrote: "I've tested positive for coronavirus. I want to thank you all for the many messages I've received. I also want to let you know that I'm fine, so don't worry. Follow the rules, stay at home and everything will work out."

Gabbiadini played 61 minutes of Sampdoria's 2-1 triumph over Hellas Verona on Sunday, a match that was ordered to be played behind closed doors.

Following the news of the former Southampton player's positive test, Verona cancelled all upcoming activities.

"Hellas Verona FC announces that, following the Sampdoria statement regarding Manolo Gabbiadini's positive test for COVID-19, any scheduled competitive activity is suspended until further notice," a statement from the club read.

"The club is taking steps to prepare all the necessary procedures."

The Italian government has suspended all sport until April 3 due to the outbreak of the virus and placed the country in lockdown, with all shops except food stores and pharmacies closing.

There have been over 12,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 827 deaths in Italy.

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."

Juventus versus Inter and Milan's match with Genoa have been scheduled for this Sunday, Serie A has confirmed.

Six games in Italy's top flight were postponed last weekend due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Along with the games featuring Juve, Inter, Milan and Genoa, matches between Parma and SPAL, Udinese and Fiorentina, and Sassuolo and Brescia were also called off.

Monday's meeting between Sampdoria and Hellas Verona was also cancelled.

Lega Serie A initially planned to move the matches to Wednesday, May 13, which forced the Coppa Italia final to be rescheduled for May 20.

However, it was confirmed on Friday that five of the matches are to take place on March 8, with Milan facing Genoa at 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT), while Juve against Inter is at 20:45 local time (19:45 GMT).

Sassuolo versus Brescia has been moved to Monday.

All the games are to be played behind closed doors following a government decree that said sporting events are to be played without fans present until April 3.

Champions Juve are second in the table, two points behind Lazio, who have played a game more.

Inter are six points behind Maurizio Sarri's side, although they have two games in hand on the leaders.

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.

LaLiga champions Barcelona are a club in crisis.

From public rows to allegations that say the current board were involved in hiring a PR firm to spread negative narratives about Barca legends, a claim the club have denied.

It has been a turbulent time at Camp Nou and MLS powerhouse LA Galaxy have looked to capitalise.

 

TOP STORY – GALAXY ENQUIRE ABOUT MESSI

LA Galaxy enquired about Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's interest in moving to the United States, according to Radio Continental.

Messi was involved in a public row with director of football Eric Abidal, raising doubts over his Barca future amid links to Manchester United, Manchester City, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Galaxy head coach and former Boca Juniors boss Guillermo Barros Schelotto reportedly reached out to Messi's father to see if the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was open to swapping Barcelona for Los Angeles.

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Paul Pogba is confident he will finally be granted an exit by Manchester United, reports the Evening Standard. Pogba – still recovering from an ankle injury – has been linked with a return to former club Juventus as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Independent claims United are in advanced negotiations with former PSG technical director Antero Henrique. Ralf Rangnick is also reportedly being considered.

- RB Leipzig's head of sport Rangnick is still being targeted by Milan for the role as head coach, reports Calciomercato. However, the Italian club are split as Stefano Pioli leads a resurgence.

- According to Tuttosport, Serie A champions Juventus are interested in bringing Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus to Turin.

- France Football says Barca are eyeing Galatasaray's teenage sensation Mustafa Kapi. The 17-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Chelsea have entered the race to sign in-demand Hellas Verona centre-back Marash Kumbulla, says Calciomercato. The 20-year-old Albania international is also wanted by Inter, Napoli, Liverpool, United and City.

Pep Guardiola will consider his future at Manchester City after the club were hit with a two-season Champions League ban.

City were handed the sanction – and a €30million fine – by UEFA on Friday for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations.

The Premier League club have denied wrongdoing and intend to appeal the verdict, but they could face personnel problems if unsuccessful.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA TO CONSIDER MAN CITY FUTURE AFTER EUROPEAN BAN

Guardiola will consider his future as City manager at season's end unless the verdict is overturned, according to The Telegraph.

The Catalan – who has been linked with Juventus – is contracted until 2021 and had suggested previously he intended to honour his deal.

ESPN reports Guardiola is worried about how the ban will impact his players but does claim the former Barcelona coach would be willing to remain as long as he, personally, is happy.

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- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still under some pressure at Old Trafford, Manchester United are favourites to land Massimiliano Allegri as manager, according to Sport Mediaset. Paris Saint-Germain, Milan and Roma are also reportedly interested in the former Juventus coach.

- Staying at Manchester United, the Manchester Evening News reports Leicester City star James Maddison wants a move to the Premier League giants. Maddison has been reported to be close to signing a contract extension at the King Power Stadium.

- With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming out of contract at the end of next season, Arsenal may opt to sell the forward during the next transfer window. The Mirror reports Inter are hoping to sign Aubameyang, who has also been linked to Barcelona.

- Olivier Giroud is prepared to wait to make a decision on his future despite coming out of contract at season's end. The Telegraph reports the Chelsea striker has been offered a pre-contract by Lazio but is in no rush to make a decision after attracting interest from Tottenham in January.

- Inter and Napoli are set for a transfer battle. CalcioMercato reports Hellas Verona and Albania defender Marash Kumbulla is a target for both clubs, who will need to pay at least €20m for the 20-year-old.

Maurizio Sarri warned Juventus they cannot afford to throw away points as they did in Saturday's 2-1 Serie A defeat to Hellas Verona after becoming "accustomed to winning" over the past few years.

Juve appeared set to open up a six-point gap at the top of the table when Cristiano Ronaldo scored for a club-record 10th successive league match in the 65th minute.

But Fabio Borini levelled with a clever finish 14 minutes from time and Giampaolo Pazzini completed the unlikely turnaround late on, converting a penalty after Leonardo Bonucci had deflected Marash Kumbulla's header onto the crossbar with his arm.

If Inter and Lazio win on Sunday, a solitary point will separate the top three in Serie A, and Sarri had forceful words at full-time.

"This team has been accustomed to winning comfortably over recent years and we need to get it into our heads that we cannot afford to waste points," Sarri told DAZN.

"Hopefully we'll learn the lesson, because we have been talking about it for quite a while. It's difficult, because the team trains well but then can't rise to its full potential during matches. We have to find a resolution to this.

"The mind is most important. If that's not engaged then you aren't going to be on the mark tactically. Similarly, if your mind is also not 100 per cent engaged, then the physical stuff won't follow either.

"We need to realise that winning cannot to be taken for granted. We must work harder, get dirty when we need to and not relax.

"Verona deserve immense credit for the first 30 minutes, but we deserve the blame for the final half-hour. They showed great intensity – we didn't, it's that simple."

The defeat was Juve's second in three games and third in their previous five away league matches. 

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