Eduardo Camavinga is one of Europe's hottest talents.

The 17-year-old's stock continues to rise following his exploits for Rennes and France.

Will Real Madrid be able to land him?

 

TOP STORY – MADRID CHASING CAMAVINGA

Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga remains Real Madrid's transfer objective, according to AS.

Madrid were desperate to sign Camavinga during the off-season but the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic prevented the LaLiga champions from doing so.

As Camavinga continues to star following his France debut and first international goal, Madrid remain determined to prise the teenager from Rennes before someone else does in 2021, when in which they plan to target Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

Milan have opened contract negotiations with star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and in-form midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, reports Calciomercato. Donnarumma has previously been linked to the likes of PSG, Chelsea and Juventus.

- Radio Radio claims former Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri has met with Roma's owners amid doubts over Paulo Fonseca's future in the Italian capital. Ralf Rangnick also been linked to Roma. Ex-Juve boss Maurizio Sarri has also reportedly emerged as a target for Roma and Fiorentina.

Manchester City have made progress with Kevin De Bruyne regarding contract talks, says The Times. City want to offer the Belgian star a new five-year deal.

Tottenham are confident of signing Swansea City centre-back Joe Rodon before the October 16 domestic deadline, reports the Evening Standard. Spurs were heavily linked with Inter star Milan Skriniar. Wales international Rodon has also caught the attention of Manchester United.

- Sky Sports says West Ham are interested in signing Bournemouth forward Joshua King. The Norway international was close to joining United in January.

- El Chiringuito TV claims Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has no intention of bringing in Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo admitted the Ligue 1 champions were tempted to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, while he insisted Neymar and Kylian Mbappe must stay at the club.

Messi dropped a bombshell when he handed in a transfer request but the Barca captain and six-time Ballon d'Or champion will remain at Camp Nou for the 2020-21 season.

Manchester City were heavily linked with Messi, while PSG also emerged as a possible destination for the 33-year-old attacker.

"Today when you think about the financial situation it's complicated," Leonardo told Canal+ program Canal Football Club when asked if PSG were interested. 

"When we are told Messi wants to leave, we are tempted. You say to yourself, will it be f****** possible? They are players completely out of any discussion. 

"I don't know, David Beckham ended up at Paris Saint-Germain, Messi ending up in Paris? I don't know. 

"It's football, in the end, everyone's sitting at the table, everyone knows everything, and it's moving forward."

There has also been speculation regarding PSG's star duo Neymar and Mbappe following their memorable run to the Champions League final.

Neymar has often been linked with a return to Barca, while Real Madrid have made no secret of their admiration for Mbappe.

However, Leonardo said: "We want to continue with them. Everything is clear to everyone. We must continue with them.

"To have two players like that on the same team is huge. Messi and Ronaldo were each in their own club. We have the two best players in the world after Messi and Ronaldo."

Despite leading PSG to their first Champions League final, there has been uncertainty over Thomas Tuchel's future in Paris.

Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a move to PSG, but Leonardo said the French powerhouse plan to continue with Tuchel.

"He did something fantastic. It's the best season in the club's history. We have time to talk about that," he added.

"We share a lot of things, we talk about the transfer market all the time. There is always a conversation about signing a player. Tuchel always validates the choice of players.

"We have a 10-month contract. Honestly, when I arrived, I could keep him or not. We spoke very clearly. I never contacted Allegri. I know him. We hope to do better this year.

"Every club today needs to sell. We made a big investment in Mauro Icardi. We have to be creative. The departures of the players were planned.

"We finished playing in August and not in May. We have until October 5 to recruit. But we have to look at the exit side before then."

Manchester United have made Jadon Sancho their prime target heading into 2020-21.

However, prising Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund is proving difficult.

United, as a result, could be about to walk away.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET TO GIVE UP ON SANCHO

Manchester United are ready to abandon their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Mirror.

United have been unable to agree a fee with Dortmund for England sensation Sancho, who is valued at €120million (£108m).

Now, United are willing to give up on Sancho until next year, which could see the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool enter the fray.

 

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- Marca claims Barcelona have re-opened talks with Inter regarding star forward Lautaro Martinez. As Barca look to move on veteran Luis Suarez, the embattled LaLiga giants remain keen on Inter's Martinez, despite links to Lyon star Memphis Depay.

Arsenal have joined Premier League rivals Liverpool in the race to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, reports the Daily Mail. Thiago is eyeing a switch to Liverpool, though the English champions are believed to be unwilling to meet Bayern's demands.

- According to the Mirror, Barca have been quoted £143m (€158.6m) to sign Richarlison from Everton.

- Tuttosport claims former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri is preparing to replace Antonio Conte at Inter. Conte is reportedly set to leave San Siro following one season at the helm.

Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, says Fabrizio Romano. Also linked to Napoli, Everton and United, Gabriel will fly to London on Monday to sign a contract until June 2025.

- Romano also claims Chelsea will announce the signing of Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell in the coming days as the Blues also target Paris Saint-Germain veteran Thiago Silva and continue negotiations with Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz.

Leicester are considering Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico as a replacement for Chelsea-bound Chilwell, says the Daily Mail.

- Roma star Edin Dzeko only wants to leave the capital club for Juve, reports Tuttosport. Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly sees Dzeko as the perfect strike partner under Andrea Pirlo.

- As new boss Ronald Koeman oversees a Barca rebuild, Sport reports Ajax would demand €55m for Donny van de Beek. The Netherlands international has also been linked to Madrid and United.

Monaco coach Niko Kovac wants the Ligue 1 side to sign former Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze, according to Le10 Sport. Gotze is a free agent after leaving Dortmund.

With all eyes on Barcelona, Lionel Messi's future is again a talking point.

The Catalans capitulated in the Champions League on Friday, thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in an embarrassing defeat.

Quique Setien appears set to be sacked as coach, while Messi's future has become unclear.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TARGET MESSI AMID BARCELONA CHAOS

Manchester City think they are in pole position to sign Messi if he leaves Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until next year and is reportedly prepared to walk away from the club amid the chaos.

City have been linked with the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner previously, while Inter are another reportedly interested.

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- Changes are expected at Barcelona. AS reports Messi will be free to decide his future in January, while it says Setien and technical secretary Eric Abidal are on their way out.

- The focus otherwise in Spain is on Setien's replacement at Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is a candidate to take over at Camp Nou with Mauricio Pochettino and Al Sadd boss Xavi losing steam. Marca says Pochettino and Koeman are favourites, while Sport reports the former Tottenham manager is the frontrunner. It says Koeman, Massimiliano Allegri, Thierry Henry and Garcia Pimienta are also candidates.

- Elsewhere, Chelsea's apparent search for a defender continues. The Sun reports they are closing in on a £40million move for Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Lewis Dunk, who is also reportedly a target for Tottenham.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also linked with goalkeepers to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Sun says Chelsea and Everton are targeting Watford's 37-year-old shot-stopper Ben Foster.

- After an impressive loan spell at Roma, Chris Smalling is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports reports Newcastle United are keen on the Manchester United defender.

"Nobody is safe," declared Gerard Pique after Barcelona were humiliated by Bayern Munich in their final match of a long, long season.

The defender was very clear that changes must be made in the wake of an 8-2 battering in the Champions League quarter-finals.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu is expected to chair an extraordinary board meeting on Monday, when the dismissal of head coach Quique Setien appears likely to be ratified.

Barca's problems stem far beyond the man in charge of the first team, but Setien looked powerless in the dugout in Lisbon on Friday and is the first obvious departure as part of a top-down clear-out at Camp Nou.

Appointing a replacement is complicated by next year's presidential elections. Assuming Bartomeu does not heed growing calls to step aside, he will be in power for at least another 10 months. That means any coach who comes in now could find himself supplanted by the preferred choice of the next president.

With that in mind, here are six of the firm favourites to take over from Setien.

 

Mauricio Pochettino

The favourite in many quarters, former Tottenham boss Pochettino could be a hugely tempting - and low-cost - choice.

The Argentinian, who left Spurs last November five months after reaching the Champions League final, has softened his stance on coaching Barca after previously declaring he could never take the job due to his allegiance to Espanyol.

Barca would represent by far the biggest job of his coaching career and the sheer challenge of getting them back on track could appeal to Pochettino, who turned Spurs into Premier League title challengers and top-four regulars over five years.

There are reports, however, that Pochettino's appointment could be a majorly divisive move, given his previous comments about Barcelona.

Xavi

Barca's former captain turned down the coaching job in January when Ernesto Valverde was sacked, and he may think the time is still not right to take the reins.

The Catalans would need to buy out his deal with Al Sadd as well as convince Xavi to come back, plus there are political complications, with presidential challenger Victor Font declaring the former Spain star would be his choice in 2021 if he wins the election.

Still, there are few who better understand the 'Barca DNA', he is adored by the fans and, crucially, he could be the man to convince Lionel Messi to stay.

 

Massimiliano Allegri

Another unattached option, Allegri has a commendable pedigree from his time with Milan and Juventus. Six Serie A titles, seven domestic cups and two Champions League finals in the past decade give Allegri a CV to rival any candidate.

He would certainly bring an uncompromising authority to the dressing room, as well as vast experience, but the 53-year-old could well be put off by the complications of those elections, especially given other leading clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Inter are said to be interested if they make a change.

Patrick Kluivert

Kluivert represents one of Bartomeu's more sensible possible appointments given he would probably accept the job despite the uncertainty of next year.

The former Barca striker is currently head of youth football at Camp Nou, and that is a role to which he could return if the head coach position became untenable in 2021.

He is another who understands the club well, would presumably be more than happy to promote youngsters to the first team, and he learned some of his coaching craft at the right hand of Louis van Gaal with the Netherlands national team.

 

Ronald Koeman

Another former Barca star who knows only too well the demands of the club, Koeman also spoke with them about replacing Valverde only to turn them down.

Like Xavi, Koeman is committed to his present project, which is to lead Netherlands at Euro 2020. With that tournament having been pushed back to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 57-year-old would appear unlikely to quit his national team now for the sake of a potential short-term posting at his old club.

Garcia Pimienta

Like Kluivert, Pimienta represents an internal candidate who would likely be unmoved by the looming elections.

A former academy player who made one appearance for the senior side, Pimienta has been coaching at La Masia since 2001 and took charge of the B team two years ago.

It would be unfair to expect him to become the new Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique, who also honed their first-team credentials with the B team, but the 46-year-old would likely be a popular choice for the new generation of talent breaking through, even if the appointment lasted only until next year.

Goodbye Quique Setien?

Barcelona's Champions League horror show against Bayern Munich is reportedly the final straw for the club's hierarchy.

Who will replace the former Real Betis boss at Camp Nou?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SACK SETIEN

Barcelona have decided to sack head coach Quique Setien, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

LaLiga giants Barca were humiliated in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday following an 8-2 defeat to Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich.

Barca have already decided Setien – who replaced Ernesto Valverde in January – will not continue in 2020-21, and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has already been linked, while club great Xavi and Massimiliano Allegri are other possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Star reports Manchester United are eyeing Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez. United have been linked to the Spain international previously and are believed to be ready to revive their interest.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Evening Standard says United remain in talks with Borussia Dortmund regarding Jadon Sancho. Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave the Bundesliga side, though United are reportedly still in negotiations for the England international. Meanwhile, Outlet Republika in Serbia claims United have agreed to sign teenage sensation Filip Stevanovic from Partizan Belgrade before loaning him back to the capital club.

- Hella Verona defender Marash Kumbulla wants to join Inter, Sky Sport Italia claims. Kumbulla has been linked to Napoli, Lazio and Juventus.

Bayern Munich want to keep loanee Ivan Perisic, according to Sky Sport Italia. Perisic has spent the season on loan from Inter and Bayern are hoping to negotiate a permanent deal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to remain at Milan and could soon sign a new contract with the Rossoneri, reports Calciomercato.

- Foot Mercato claims Barca could consider re-signing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern. Thiago, who left Barca in 2013, has been tipped to join Liverpool, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have emerged as possible destinations.

Arsenal are planning to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico following the arrival of William, reports The Daily Star.

Memphis Depay has links to Manchester United and he might be able to help out his former club.

Depay spent two years at United but struggled before leaving for Ligue 1 outfit Lyon in 2017.

The Netherlands international has since flourished in France, and he could now play a role in United bringing Jadon Sancho to Manchester.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND WANT DEPAY AS SANCHO REPLACEMENT

Manchester United's bid to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho could hinge on Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to The Sun.

Sancho has been tipped to leave Bundesliga side Dortmund for Premier League giants United in a blockbuster transfer this off-season.

Former United forward Depay has emerged as a possible replacement for Sancho at Dortmund and is reportedly the key to the Red Devils prising the England international to Old Trafford.

 

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- Could Antonio Conte leave Inter after just one season? The Inter head coach took aim at the club after their final game of the Serie A season – a 2-0 win over Atalanta on Saturday to secure second spot behind Juventus. Conte claimed neither he nor his players were protected by the club amid criticism. Now, Sky Sport Italia, SportMediaset, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport claim the damage is irreparable. With Conte facing an uncertain future, former Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have emerged as possible replacements.

- Le10Sport reports Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele to join the Gunners. Dembele has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants, who are reportedly trying to raise transfer funds through sales. Aubameyang himself has been linked to Barca, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and United previously.

Milan are ready to sell Lucas Paqueta, claims Calciomercato. Linked to PSG previously, Serie A rivals Fiorentina are interested in the Brazilian attacker and an exchange involving Viola star defender Nikola Milenkovic could take place.

- According to the Telegraph, Sevilla defender Diego Carlos is at the top of Arsenal's transfer wish list. Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have also been credited with interest.

- AS Diario says Real Madrid have a clear plan of when they want to pursue their transfer targets amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reluctant to spend after winning LaLiga and in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Madrid are focusing on 2021 – PSG's Kylian Mbappe at the top of the list. Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is also wanted next year, while Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is a 2022 target.

Massimiliano Allegri says he had contact with Real Madrid over becoming their head coach two years ago, but wanted to stay loyal to Juventus.

The former Milan boss spent five successful years in charge of Juve prior to his exit at the end of last season.

After Zinedine Zidane left Madrid following the 2017-18 campaign, the club had short spells with Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari in charge.

Allegri was one of the other options pursued by the club and the Italian thanked Madrid president Florentino Perez for his interest at the time.

Madrid ultimately turned back to Zidane in March 2019.

"Two years ago, there was contact, but nothing came of it because I had a contract with Juve," Allegri said to Marca about Madrid's interest.

"Furthermore, I had a strong moral commitment to the club and its fans."

Allegri was asked what he likes most about the work Zidane is doing at Santiago Bernabeu, with a LaLiga title on the horizon as the delayed 2019-20 season nears its conclusion.

"The strength he has had in finding the indispensable balance of a team so full of class and talent," Allegri said.

"For me, the positioning of Casemiro has been a tactical masterclass from Zizou."

Discussing his own future, Allegri continued: "I've been charging my batteries [since leaving Juve] and enjoying time with my family and my city, Livorno, with my lifelong friends.

"I don't really care [if my next job is in Italy or abroad]. I'm looking for a club to share a project with and which has the ambition to compete to win."

And when questioned over whether he would like to coach in LaLiga, Allegri added: "Who in their right mind would say no to this question? No one.

"There is more pleasure of playing in LaLiga, no matter the result. After conceding a goal, the team keeps playing as if nothing has happened. 

"In Italy, on the other hand, there is much more love and attention for the details of the game and tactics. The brain almost always wins out over the heart, in general.

"[Italian football is more difficult] because of what I said before. The player doesn't have much freedom to enjoy themselves in a purely instinctive way and this sometimes makes it difficult."

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has a long list of admirers.

From Manchester United to Real Madrid, the Lazio midfielder is a player in demand.

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, however, appear on track to sign the Serbia international.

 

TOP STORY –  PSG AND MILINKOVIC-SAVIC IN AGREEMENT

Paris Saint-Germain have reached a salary agreement with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to Paris Fans.

Milinkovic-Savic has been linked to Premier League giants Manchester United and LaLiga powerhouse Real Madrid.

But PSG have an agreement with Milinkovic-Savic for a salary around €7million a year, while the deal could also include Laizo's Adam Marusic.

Firstly, PSG would like to seal the departure of Julian Draxler, who has been linked to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.

 

ROUND-UP

Neymar still wants to join Barcelona at the end of the season. The front page of Monday's Mundo Deportivo says the PSG star remains committed to pushing through a return to Barca at all costs.

- The Telegraph says Manchester City have entered the chase for Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell. The Englishman has been heavily linked to Chelsea.

- Birmingham City sensation Jude Bellingham prefers Borussia Dortmund over United, reports the Birmingham Mail. The 16-year-old is wanted by both clubs, while he has already toured United's facilities.

Marco Verratti and Alvaro Morata are being linked with returns to Serie A. Tuttosport claims the possible arrival of Italian head coach Massimiliano Allegri at PSG could see Verratti and Juventus' Miralem Pjanic swap clubs. Atletico Madrid forward Morata, meanwhile, has been in contact with Inter as Edinson Cavani prepares to move to the Spanish capital on a free transfer.

- Admirers of Ismael Bennacer will struggle to sign the Milan midfielder. City, Madrid and PSG have been linked to Bennacer. But, Calciomercato says the 22-year-old's €50m release clause is not active until 2021.

Barca's bid to bring Lautaro Martinez to Camp Nou is no closer to completion. Junior Firpo has emerged as the key to unlocking the deadlock between Barca and Inter. Junior Firpo is valued at €41m by Barca, but FCInterNews says the Nerazzurri consider the defender's transfer value closer to €20m.

Leonardo Bonucci admits he "made a poor decision" when he joined Milan in 2017, though he would have liked to have played alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The experienced defender left Juventus for San Siro following a falling out with then-coach Massimiliano Allegri.

He concedes opting to leave the Serie A champions was an error and he was ultimately glad to return to Juve the following year.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport about the final campaign of his first spell with Juve, which ended with a 4-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, Bonucci said: "It was a difficult season for me, both personally and professionally.

"There were some disagreements and, especially after the defeat in the Champions League, I ultimately made a poor decision, but I have to say that the decision, which certainly influenced my career, improved me as a man.

"Those months at Milan let me do some soul-searching and made me realise that my calling was at Juventus, who are like my family.

"I met some beautiful people at Milan, first of all Rino [Gennaro] Gattuso. It was a difficult year, but that's not to say it was useless. At the end of it, I was very happy to go back home."

Ibrahimovic, who was at Juve from 2004 to 2006, has since made the switch back to Milan and he is someone Bonucci would have relished having as a team-mate.

"I'd have loved to play with Ibrahimovic," the 33-year-old said. "He's a leader, he has character and he's strong. It would've been nice to face him in training.

"He comes across as a tough guy, but he's a good person. On the field, the players who have character, who are always motivated by the desire to win give you unique stimuli.

"And that's what I'm always looking for, stimuli to improve."

Leonardo Bonucci believes the Serie A title should not be awarded if the season has to be halted again due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Football in Italy is due to return this month after being suspended since March following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Juventus were a point ahead of Lazio when the campaign was stopped as they pursued a ninth Scudetto in a row, with Inter a further eight points back with a game in hand.

A serious second wave of infections would likely see Serie A brought to a standstill again and Bonucci thinks it would be better for all concerned in that instance if 2019-20 was simply scrapped.

"I hope we get to the normal end of the championship," the Juve defender told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If that didn't happen, a lot of stories, controversies, appeals would come out.

"I'm not in favour of other hypotheses. If it stops, it's better to finish things there and not assign anything.

"Hopefully, we'll get to August 2 and declare a winner. Hopefully, it's Juve."

Juve will resume the season with the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final against Milan on June 12, with the aggregate score 1-1.

The Bianconeri are pursuing a possible treble in Maurizio Sarri's first season in charge since he took over from Massimiliano Allegri.

Comparing the two coaches, Bonucci admits to being "pleasantly surprised" by Sarri's way of working.

When asked to name the differences between Allegri and Sarri, he said: "They're obvious. Allegri is really good at managing the dressing room, the most difficult moments of the season, to make the team understand how to manage the tempo of a match. In his five years, he was a master at this.

"Sarri is meticulous, passionate about tactics, someone who likes to make the team play well. He's also learned in these months with Juve what it means to be Bianconero.

"I've seen us grow significantly. He has a wealth of football knowledge, but he has been able to question himself. He had the humility to understand the dynamics of the collective. I was pleasantly surprised, really."

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." 

The record-breaking goalscoring exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi tend to lead the discussion when it comes to the Champions League, but there have also been plenty of masterful performances at the other end of the pitch.

One such display came on April 19 three years ago, when Juventus proved nigh on impenetrable at the back and saw off Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid and an Inter team led by Jose Mourinho have also provided some of the most memorable rearguard showings in Europe.

We look back at five of the best defensive displays in Champions League history.

 

1992-93 final: Marseille 1-0 Milan

Marseille were the underdogs at the Olympiastadion in Munich but managed to become the first French champions of Europe in the inaugural Champions League.

Daniele Massaro went close to an early opener for Milan when he nodded narrowly wide, and he was denied from an acute angle by Fabien Barthez after the goalkeeper blocked a low attempt from Marco van Basten.

Basile Boli had been struggling with a muscular injury for much of the first half but he headed home Abedi Pele's corner to put Raymond Goethals' side ahead on the stroke of half-time.

Marseille held firm for the entirety of the second period to claim the trophy, with Boli telling UEFA: "Those last 45 minutes felt like 45 years, and by the time the final whistle blew it felt like 100 years."

However, Marseille were barred from defending their title after a Ligue 1 match-fixing scandal saw them stripped of their domestic crown and relegated.

 

2004-05 semi-finals second leg: Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (1-0 agg)

After a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge that saw Jerzy Dudek worked more than Petr Cech, Liverpool took just four minutes to score against Chelsea – who had been crowned Premier League champions for the first time in 50 years three days prior – in the return match at Anfield.

Luis Garcia cored with what was subsequently branded the 'ghost goal', with replays and a lack of technology unable to definitively clarify whether the ball had crossed the line before William Gallas cleared it.

Rafael Benitez's Liverpool sat back for the rest of the game and comfortably soaked up the limited pressure Chelsea placed upon them, ending their hopes of a treble.

Eidur Gudjohnsen spurned a glorious chance to equalise in stoppage time after a tame punch from Dudek, meaning Liverpool advanced to the final against Milan.

In Istanbul it was attack rather than defence that underpinned the Reds' success as they came from 3-0 down to defeat the Rossoneri on penalties and be crowned champions of Europe for the fifth time.

 

2009-10 semi-final second leg: Barcelona 1-0 Inter (2-3 agg)

Mourinho's Inter may have been defeated at Camp Nou, but a 3-1 advantage from the first leg meant it was they who advanced to the final.

Their resilience was put to the ultimate test when former Barca midfielder Thiago Motta was shown a red card in the 28th minute for putting his hand in the face of Sergio Busquets, who certainly made the most of the contact.

Even with a numerical disadvantage Inter nullified an attack that boasted Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pedro with a compact showing, while their continued gamesmanship caused frustration in the Barca ranks throughout a fiery encounter.

Gerard Pique gave Pep Guardiola's men a glimmer of hope when he finally broke the deadlock in the 84th minute, but they were unable to deny Mourinho cause to sprint across the pitch in celebration at the final whistle.

Inter made the final for the first time since 1972 and defeated Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu to complete a historic treble.

 

2015-16 quarter-finals second leg: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (3-2 agg)

Barcelona's quest to become the first team to retain the Champions League trophy was ended by Atletico at the Vicente Calderon.

A trademark defensive masterclass from Simeone saw Atletico blunt one of modern football's greatest attacking units – the MSN of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

The hosts had just 28 per cent of possession and completed a fifth of the passes Barca put together (122 to 616), but the imperious combination of Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez kept Luis Enrique's team at bay.

Antoine Griezmann converted a delivery from Saul Niguez in the first half and slotted home a late penalty after Andres Iniesta was penalised for handball, sending Barca crashing out.

A similarly brilliant performance at the back saw Atleti beat Bayern to a place in the final but they were defeated by local rivals Real Madrid in the showpiece for the second time in three years.

 

2016-17 quarter-finals second leg: Barcelona 0-0 Juventus (0-3 agg)

They may have been defeated in the first leg courtesy of an inspired Paulo Dybala display, but having overturned a 4-0 aggregate deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 Barca will still have had high hopes of getting past Juve.

Unsurprisingly they peppered the visitors' goal with shots but they were only able to hit the target with one of them, Messi warming Gianluigi Buffon's gloves from 25 yards in the first half.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci – who were joined by third centre-back Andrea Barzagli for the final 15 minutes – showed tremendous composure and discipline to provide Buffon with outstanding protection throughout.

Massimiliano Allegri's side consequently joined Manchester United (2007-08) and Bayern (2012-13) as the only teams to stop Barca scoring in both legs of a Champions League tie.

Juve went on to reach the final but were unable to end a 21-year wait to get their hands on the trophy, with Madrid making it two in a row in Cardiff.

After dominating European football for over a decade, could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shelve their rivalry and come together as team-mates?

David Beckham might be the man to make it happen.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder appears to have ambitious plans for his new MLS franchise.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, RONALDO WANTED AT INTER MIAMI

Barcelona captain Messi, 32, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 35, will end their careers on the same side if Inter Miami co-owner Beckham gets his wish, according to the Mirror.

The newspaper claims the new MLS outfit are "already thinking big" and could look to lure football's two biggest superstars to the United States.

LA Galaxy have also been linked with a move for Messi but Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath believes Beckham's pulling power has the potential to create a dream attacking duo.

“For Ronaldo and Messi, the two obvious destinations if they came to the MLS would be Los Angeles and Miami," Heath told the Mirror.

"And, with his links to both players and the plan Beckham and his backers have in place, I can really only see them going to Miami."

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are set to launch a £50million bid for Wolves forward Diogo Jota, scorer of a Europa League hat-trick on Thursday, reports the Express.

- United have also been linked with Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham but the Red Devils are set to face competition from Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

- Serie A leaders Juventus are at the front of the queue for Paul Pogba but Paris Saint-Germain also hope to land the French star, reports Le10 Sport.

- PSG, meanwhile, are planning for life after Thomas Tuchel, who is said to be in talks with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 champions could look to replace him with either Massimiliano Allegri or Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi.

- Premier League clubs Sheffield United, Wolves and Burnley are showing interest in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, suggests the Sun.

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