Things have not worked out for Philippe Coutinho since his big-money exit from Liverpool.

Coutinho failed to establish himself at LaLiga champions Barcelona, while the Brazilian star has struggled to convince during his loan spell with Bayern Munich.

Now, a Premier League club are reportedly ready to hand Coutinho a lifeline.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LEAD COUTINHO RACE

Chelsea are favourites to bring Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League, according to AS.

Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in a deal reportedly worth €160million (£151m) in 2018, however, he has not been able to match the lofty heights he reached at Anfield.

The 27-year-old was shipped out to Bundesliga powerhouses Bayern Munich at the start of the season, and Frank Lampard's Chelsea have reportedly sounded out Barca about a transfer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Where will Paul Pogba be playing in 2020-21? Linked to former club Juventus and Real Madrid, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously insisted the Frenchman will be at Old Trafford next season. However, The Sun says United are now willing to sell Pogba for £100m (€105m).

United are desperate to beat Borussia Dortmund to Jude Bellingham's signature. Dortmund are reportedly favourites to sign Birmingham City's 16-year-old sensation. However, the Mirror claims United are prepared to outlay £30m to sign Bellingham, who toured the club's training facilities last week.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Barca are considering swap deals to facilitate the signings of Inter forward Lautaro Martinez and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar. The report says Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho could be moved on.

- The Athletic says Liverpool are willing to pay RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner's release clause, but Barca are set to provide competition.

Chelsea are chasing CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, reports the Daily Star. Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham and Crystal Palace are also interested.

- According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Gianluigi Donnarumma is happy to extend his Milan contract but CEO Ivan Gazidis is open to cashing in on the 21-year-old Italy goalkeeper.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has launched a fundraiser to raise money for Humanitas hospitals as he called on the world to "kick the coronavirus away".

More than 8,900 people have died from the coronavirus, with Italy, where Ibrahimovic is playing with Milan, hugely impacted.

Italy has seen more than 35,000 cases, with nearly 3,000 deaths, a tally second only to China.

Ibrahimovic launched a fundraiser on Wednesday and it had exceeded €150,000 as he aims for €1million for Humanitas hospitals.

"Hi, I'm Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Italy has always given me so much and in this dramatic moment, I want to give back even more to this country that I love," he said in a video posted on Twitter.

"I decided together with the people who are working with me to create a fundraiser for Humanitas hospitals and to use my communication power to spread the message wider.

"It's a serious issue and we need concrete help that's not just about a video. I count on the generosity of my colleagues, of all professional athletes and of those who want to make a small or large donation according to their possibilities to kick this virus away.

"Together we can really help hospitals and doctors and nurses who selflessly work everyday to save our lives because today we are the ones sharing for them.

"Let's together kick the coronavirus away and win this match and remember, if the virus doesn't go to Zlatan, Zlatan goes to the virus."

Serie A has been suspended until April 3, with Italy in lockdown due to coronavirus.

Europe's top five leagues have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and there is widespread uncertainty over the future of the 2019-20 season.

Will tournaments be completed when conditions are suitable? Will things finish as they are? Will the campaign be declared null and void?

With the help of Opta, we look back over the previous 10 seasons to see who would have been crowned champions if the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga had stopped where there are now.

 

Aguer-no!

It was an iconic moment in Premier League history. Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's second stoppage-time goal as they came from behind to defeat QPR 3-2 and clinch their first top-flight title in 44 years, beating crestfallen arch-rivals Manchester United to the trophy on the final day of the season.

However, if the campaign had been stopped where it is now it would have been United who were celebrating due to a one-point advantage.

It is the only occasion since 2009-10 that the team on top after 29 matchdays has not won the Premier League.

 

Atleti's title wiped out

Atletico Madrid incredibly broke the Barcelona and Real Madrid duopoly in LaLiga in 2013-14, with Diego Godin salvaging a draw at Camp Nou on the final day to ensure they finished top of the pile.

However, it was local rivals Real Madrid, led by Carlo Ancelotti, who sat three points clear after 27 games of the season, meaning Diego Simeone's crowning achievement would not have occurred.

The only other instance of a team being displaced in the final 11 matches came in 2009-10, when Madrid sat ahead of Barca on goal difference but ended up seeing Pep Guardiola's men go on to win LaLiga for a second straight season.

 

Juventus dominance broken up

Eight straight Serie A titles have seen Juventus create history in Italy, but they would have only managed five if the previous seasons stopped after 26 games – the total the majority of clubs have completed in 2019-20.

The Bianconeri went undefeated under Antonio Conte in 2011-12, although it was Milan who topped the table at this point in the campaign, meaning Massimiliano Allegri would have won successive Scudetti at San Siro.

Maurizio Sarri would also not have had to have waited until winning the Europa League with Chelsea last year for his first major title.

Sarri's Napoli only surrendered top spot to Juve on matchday 27 in 2017-18 and they failed to recover it, missing out on their best chance to finish top since the Diego Maradona era.

 

QSI off to the perfect start

The landscape of Ligue 1 changed dramatically when Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) bought Paris Saint-Germain in June 2011, although no silverware was added to the Parc des Princes trophy cabinet in the first season following the takeover.

However, they would have been crowned champions had the 2011-12 season finished after 28 games, denying a Montpellier side powered by the goals of Olivier Giroud an unlikely first Ligue 1 title.

There would have been bad news for PSG in 2014-15, though, as the trophy would have gone to Hubert Fournier's Lyon due to a one-point margin.

Bordeaux would have made it back-to-back titles in 2009-10, too, with Marseille having made the most of a collapse that saw Laurent Blanc's side slip from first to sixth over the final 10 matches.

 

Bundesliga business as usual

What changes with the Bundesliga title winners if you stop the previous 10 seasons after 25 games? Nothing.

Bayern Munich would have won eight championships to Borussia Dortmund's two.

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

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

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

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

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

JUVENTUS

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

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

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

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

LAZIO

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

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

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

INTER

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

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

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

ATALANTA

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

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

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

MILAN

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

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

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

The coronavirus crisis continues to challenge decision-makers in football's corridors of power and could soon leave some of the game's biggest clubs facing contract conundrums.

Manchester United, Milan and Paris Saint-Germain are among the major European outfits who are due to farewell high-profile players when free agency comes into force on June 30.

Domestic leagues across the world appear increasingly likely to run beyond that deadline, meaning sides up and down the divisions could be forced to renegotiate deals beyond the typical expiry date.

It remains to be seen how governing bodies will approach the unfamiliar territory but Edinson Cavani, Mario Gotze and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be watching closely like dozens more across Europe's top five leagues.

These are the stars and solid supporting cast members whose contract situations are worth monitoring in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

LaLiga

Athletic Bilbao: Aritz Aduriz (retiring), Benat, Mikel San Jose
Atletico Madrid: Antonio Adan
Espanyol: Ander Iturraspe
Granada: Roberto Soldado
Real Valladolid: Hatem Ben Arfa
Sevilla: Ever Banega (joining Al Shabab at end of contract), Nolito
Valencia: Ezequiel Garay
Villarreal: Santi Cazorla 

Premier League

Bournemouth: Ryan Fraser
Burnley: Joe Hart
Chelsea: Olivier Giroud, Pedro, Willian
Liverpool: Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne
Manchester City: David Silva (confirmed he will leave at end of contract)
Manchester United: Nemanja Matic, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Odion Ighalo (loan ends)
Newcastle United: Matty Longstaff
Tottenham: Jan Vertonghen, Japhet Tanganga

Serie A

Atalanta: Jose Luis Palomino
Hellas Verona: Fabio Borini
Inter: Ashley Young
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon
Milan: Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Napoli: Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens

Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen: Charles Aranguiz
Borussia Dortmund: Mario Gotze, Lukasz Piszczek
Hertha Berlin: Salomon Kalou
Schalke: Benjamin Stambouli
Wolfsburg: Robin Knoche

Ligue 1

Lille: Loic Remy
Monaco: Jemerson
Nice: Walter Benitez, Arnaud Lusamba
Paris Saint-Germain: Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier, Tanguy Kouassi, Layvin Kurzawa, Thiago Silva

Asmir Begovic has compared Milan to "a movie scene" as the city deals with the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.

Northern Italy was first put into quarantine on March 8 before measures were extended across the whole country in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Italy is the worst-affected country outside China, with 24,747 confirmed cases and 1,809 deaths.

With Serie A suspended until at least April and Milan having cancelled team training sessions until further notice, Begovic admits it has been difficult to adjust to life in a bustling city that has effectively fallen silent.

He told the Mirror: "The streets are deserted. The only thing open are supermarkets. You can get a little bit of food and then it's straight back to your home. It's crazy.

"People have said it's like a movie scene and it really is. I've never seen anything like it before. I'm not sure people understand how bad it is here.

"But it's hit the country hard. You feel for the country, with a lot of deaths and people being infected. It's devastating and heart-breaking for the people.

"Now you see other clubs, fellow players getting it and it feels like a nightmare and you can only hope that everything goes back to normal as soon as possible."

Milan's last match before the league was postponed was a 2-1 defeat to Genoa, which was played behind closed doors at San Siro.

Begovic, who did not enjoy the experience, says they are now just waiting to hear when they can return to training, with no Milan players having yet tested positive for coronavirus.

"There was a debate as to whether we should play at all. We played behind closed doors, which wasn't a great experience at all," he said.

"Then the next day we were in, then we were off and then everything was shut down. It happened so quickly. This week has been the climax.

"Then you're in lockdown. The whole city in lockdown, no restaurants past 6pm and now everything's closed. It literally happened so quickly, one step after another.

"We're not training now. We're not due back until the 23rd [of March] at the moment but that looks as if it might get changed and extended.

"No-one has tested positive at Milan. Now they've sent us away and said: 'We'll see you when we see you'.

"It's so strange not being able to train. You try to do other things but there's only so much Netflix you can watch.

"I try to keep busy, I’m trying to record some podcasts, keep myself ticking over and to not get down too much and patiently wait for normality to resume."

For so long, Donny van de Beek has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Madrid previously contacted Eredivisie champions Ajax over a possible deal for the midfielder at the start of the season.

The LaLiga giants reportedly have an agreement in place for Van de Beek, however, Manchester United are still fighting for the Dutchman.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED OUT TO HIJACK MADRID'S DONNY PURSUIT

Manchester United are looking to beat Real Madrid to the signing of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to Marca.

Madrid reportedly have a pre-agreement with Van de Beek, who was close to swapping Amsterdam for the Spanish capital at the start of 2019-20.

Now, United are trying to pip Madrid to Van de Beek amid doubts over star midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Juventus remain the preferred option for Pogba, despite United insisting the Frenchman will be at Old Trafford in 2020-21.

- Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland team-mates at Madrid? The LaLiga giants are interested in the pair, however, Marca has described it as an "impossible dream". That is because Mbappe and Haaland reportedly do not get along following the Champions League last-16 tie, which saw PSG mock the Dortmund forward.

- Calciomercato says Napoli and Inter are set to go head-to-head for Sassuolo midfielder Jeremie Boga.

- PSG full-back Thomas Meunier will join Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer at the end of the season, reports RMC. Meunier's contract is due to expire in June.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future at Milan is uncertain. Gazzetta dello Sport says Ibrahimovic will only extend his contract if the Rossoneri build a strong winning team in Serie A.

Paul Pogba is reportedly ready to stunningly re-sign with Manchester United.

The midfielder has been linked with a move away from the Premier League club throughout the season, one during which he has made just eight appearances in all competitions.

However, a fresh report suggests Pogba may yet stay at United.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA OPEN TO EXTENDING MAN UTD STAY

Pogba is ready to recommit to Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

The France international, who is contracted until 2021 but linked to Real Madrid and Juventus, sees his long-term future at the club and could even extend his deal, the report says.

Bruno Fernandes has helped lead a turnaround in form for United, who are unbeaten in 10 games.

ROUND-UP

- With Zinedine Zidane's future at Real Madrid increasingly uncertain, Marca reports former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino would be the main candidate to replace the Frenchman.

- Amid the troubles at AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return at San Siro may not last that long. CalcioMercato reports the striker's future with the club is in danger with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

- Marc-Andre ter Stegen has a deal at Barcelona until 2022, but it remains to be seen how long he stays at Camp Nou. Goal reports the LaLiga club are unable to meet the demands of the star goalkeeper.

- Linked repeatedly with a move for Moussa Dembele throughout last close season, United are lining up a fresh £60million (€68.4m) move for the Lyon forward, according to The Sun. Dembele has scored 22 goals in 42 games this season.

- With Hirving Lozano seemingly unwanted at Napoli, several European clubs are said to be interested in the attacker. CalcioMercato reports Atletico Madrid, Everton and West Ham are keen to sign Lozano.

Milan have donated €250,000 to help with the coronavirus emergency support effort in Italy, where the entire country has been put on lockdown.

The coronavirus outbreak has crippled the nation, with Serie A and all sporting events suspended until April 3 following the Italian National Olympic Committee's (CONI) decision on Monday.

It comes after a significant increase in cases, with a total of 9,172 people infected as of Monday in Italy.

Milan – following in the footsteps of neighbours Inter's €100,000 donation – and Fondazione Milan have jointly donated to the response efforts of AREU (Azienda Regionale Emergenza Urgenza), the emergency arm of the Lombardy region's government.

"There are things in life more important than football," Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis said in a statement. "At a time when all of us need to take care of the most vulnerable amongst us, we must all act with the utmost responsibility and listen to the advice of the relevant authorities.

"On behalf of the club, I am proud to support the incredible efforts of our region's emergency response teams with this donation. The health and safety of our loved ones is our highest priority. We understand that our fans are going through an extremely difficult time.

"We are all worried about those nearest and dearest to us and about the implications for the future. Milan is more than a football club. It is a community of people who care for each other and we also represent the great city of Milano around the world.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Milanisti. We have already announced that we will reimburse all those who have shown their love for the club by issuing refunds to any games cancelled or postponed and we will be taking further steps to support our fans through these difficult times as they have always supported us."

Globally, there have been 114,458 coronavirus cases with 4,027 deaths.

More than 3,100 people have died in China, while over 400 people have succumbed to the virus in Italy.

All sporting activity in Italy has been suspended until April 3 by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) due to the coronavirus spread, with football set to be the most-impacted sport.

The CONI announcement on Monday confirmed a suspension, subject to government ratification, that many had expected.

Serie A and the Coppa Italia had already been heavily affected by postponements and matches being played behind closed doors, with Sunday's Derby d'Italia played in front of an eerily empty stadium.

A government decree had already confirmed there were to be no spectators at any sporting events until April 3, but the latest announcement followed a significant increase in coronavirus cases, with 7,375 Italians having been infected.

Many wider sporting events in Italy had already been postponed, but the suspension is arguably set to have the biggest knock-on effect in football, as it throws the Serie A title race – and relegation tussle – into chaos due to an ever-growing fixture pile-up.

Following Monday's news, here are the biggest clubs' Serie A and Coppa Italia matches set to be affected:

Juventus:

Bologna v Juventus, March 13

Juventus v Lecce, March 21

Juventus v Milan (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

Lazio:

Atalanta v Lazio, March 15

Lazio v Fiorentina, March 20

Inter:

Inter v Sassuolo, March 15

Parma v Inter, March 22

Napoli v Inter (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

Milan:

Lecce v Milan, March 15

Milan v Roma, March 22

Juventus v Milan (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

With no matches set to take place until April 3, a deadline that could feasibly be pushed back even further, teams will resume the Serie A season with between 12 and 14 matches still to play.

With Euro 2020 set to begin on June 12, it leaves just 70 days between the two key dates, though facilities will have to be handed over to UEFA well before the tournament's kick-off.

If Champions League and Europa League matches continue to go ahead as planned, some Italian teams could have many as 20 matches across all competitions to cram into their schedules.

Juventus lead the way in Serie A on 63 points, and look set to be pushed the distance by Lazio. The Rome-based club are just a point shy, while Inter have fallen adrift of the top by nine.

Among the wider sporting events previously postponed through March and early April were: 

CYCLING

Tirreno-Adriatico, March 11-17

Milan-San Remo, March 21

Giro di Sicilia, April 1-4

SKIING

Alpine Skiing World Cup finals, March 18-22

RUGBY UNION

Italy v England, March 14

Zvonimir Boban has compared Milan to North Korea and claimed CEO Ivan Gazidis "closed the agreement" to bring in Ralf Rangnick back in December.

The Rossoneri announced the departure of Boban from his role as chief football officer on Saturday, just nine months after returning to the Serie A club where he spent a decade as a player.

His departure was hardly a surprise, however, with the former Croatia international having spoken about Gazidis in a recent interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, claiming there to be "two souls" at Milan amid speculation of a move for Rangnick to become both head coach and director of sport.

Speaking to Il Giornale, Boban stood by his previous comments – insisting what he said to Gazzetta is "legally flawless" – and how he was not told about Rangnick's impending arrival to replace Stefano Pioli.

"I didn't know we were in North Korea. My interview [with Gazzetta dello Sport] is legally flawless, it came after so many demands of internal clarification that were ignored," Boban said.

"They had closed the agreement with Rangnick in December. I can wish him (Rangnick) all the best possible, but they had to tell me. I should have been informed of the initiative.

"In January, Gazidis told me, 'We cannot make some choices without the consent of the new manager'."

In a statement to confirm Boban's exit, Gazidis said Pioli – who was appointed in October to replace Marco Giampaolo – is doing an "exceptional job" in charge of the team and has the club's "full support".

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."

Milan have sacked chief football officer Zvonimir Boban as CEO Ivan Gazidis begins what is expected to be a high-level clear-out of senior figures at San Siro.

Boban departs after just nine months in his role, with the Rossoneri having endured another difficult season in Italy.

Stefano Pioli was named head coach in October after Marco Giampaolo was sacked seven games into the Serie A campaign, yet Milan have won only 10 league matches and sit 12 points outside the top four.

Gazidis has been tipped to oversee significant changes behind the scenes, with Boban and sporting director Paolo Maldini long thought to be under threat of the sack.

It has been suggested Gazidis wants to bring in Ralf Rangnick, the head of sport and development for Red Bull, in a role that would see first-team head coach and sporting director duties combined.

Milan announced on Saturday that former Croatia star Boban has been relieved of his role with immediate effect, although the club made it clear they are supporting Pioli for the rest of the season.

"We thank Zvone for his efforts over the past nine months and wish him well in his future endeavours," Gazidis said.

"We must now turn our attention to football and the important games to come. Stefano Pioli and his staff are doing an exceptional job growing the performances of the team every week and will have our full support as they continue this work, in what is a difficult time for the country."

Milan face Genoa on Sunday in a match that was postponed due to the threat of the coronavirus in Italy.

The game, along with all others in the country before April 3, will be played behind closed doors to limit the risk of the virus spreading further.

LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget claims he felt like walking off the pitch when he was a team-mate of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, adding there is "definitely a better feel around the place" since the striker's exit.

Ibrahimovic scored 53 goals in 58 MLS appearances in two seasons in Los Angeles, winning the club's prizes for most goals, best goal and best player in each campaign.

The veteran striker was also twice in the MLS Best XI and All-Star line-ups and was awarded newcomer of the year following his arrival after leaving Manchester United.

Now with Milan, the 38-year-old's undoubtedly impressive goalscoring record was not enough to deliver silverware to the Galaxy, as they failed to reach the playoffs in 2018 and lost to rivals Los Angeles FC in the semi-finals last year.

Lletget certainly feels happier without Ibrahimovic in the team, insisting the former Paris Saint-Germain star made life "super frustrating".

"There's definitely a better feel around the place, for sure," Lletget said on BSI: The Podcast. "As far as chemistry, that's only going to build with time."

Lletget claimed that, in the club's dining area, "No one sits with him [Ibrahimovic], ever" and added of playing alongside him: "You couldn't be free. It was super frustrating.

"You feel like you want to literally take your boots off and just walk off the field. It's tough to play against him and tougher to play with him."

In a match with LAFC last August, Ibrahimovic was seen pushing Lletget away from a defensive wall as their opponents prepared to take a late free-kick.

"That to me is complete insanity to do that to one of your team-mates — complete insanity," said the United States international.

"It's one of those moments I think he shows his true colours."

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.

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