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.

Juventus' derby d'Italia against Inter is among five Series A fixtures to be postponed this weekend due to ongoing fears over the spread of the coronavirus in Italy.

The matches were initially due to be played behind closed doors, as was the case with Inter's Europa League victory over Ludogorets at San Siro on Thursday.

But Lega Serie A revealed on Saturday that the clash in Turin, along with Milan v Genoa, Parma against SPAL and Sassuolo versus Brescia would not go ahead on Sunday.

Udinese's encounter with Fiorentina on Saturday has also been called off.

The matches will instead be played on May 13, with the Coppa Italia final pushed back a week to May 20.

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.

Torino's home fixture against Parma has become the latest Serie A game to be postponed due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus in Italy.

It was confirmed on Saturday that title-chasing Inter's match against Sampdoria would not go ahead as planned on Sunday, with Hellas Verona-Cagliari and Atalanta-Sassuolo also falling victim.

Torino have now announced their clash with Parma, who sit ninth and still harbour European ambitions this term, will be put back.

"We inform you that the Torino-Parma match, scheduled for today, Sunday 23 February, at 3pm at the Olimpico Grande Torino stadium and valid for the 25th day of the Serie A TIM, has been postponed to a date to be decided," a short statement on the club's official website read.

The decision to postpone the fixtures is part of preventative measures against the spread of coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, in Italy after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Prior to the Inter announcement, the Serie B game between Ascoli and Cremonese was called off and up to 88 amateur matches did not take place, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Lazio, who are second, are scheduled to visit Genoa and Roma are due to entertain Lecce as things stand.

Parma have ordered Gervinho to train alone until further notice following his failed attempt to force through a move to Al Sadd.

The former Arsenal forward chose not to attend training last week as he tried to secure a transfer to Xavi's side for a reported €5million fee.

The Ivory Coast international appeared set to make the move, but the transfer was not ratified before the Serie A deadline on January 31.

The 32-year-old will have to stay at Parma for the rest of the season, but he appears to be facing a fight to regain his place in the first team.

A club statement released on Tuesday said: "After unjustifiably missing training repeatedly last week, Parma can confirm that Gervinho will follow an individual training plan under the orders of the club's technical staff until a further announcement is made."

Gervinho has made 17 league appearances this season, scoring four goals and providing three assists.

Parma, who face Lazio on Sunday, are seventh in the Serie A table after 22 matches.

Manchester United left it very, very late, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the extra striker he wanted in the form of Odion Ighalo.

With a move for Bournemouth's Joshua King dead in the water, the Red Devils focused their efforts on a loan deal for the 30-year-old, who has been playing for Shanghai Shenhua since last February.

Ighalo's deal, which Omnisport understands does not include a purchase option, will give Solskjaer another option up front during the injury absence of Marcus Rashford.

He is expected to travel to England in the coming days before United publicly announce the signing.

Ighalo was far from the only major deal to be concluded late in the transfer window, though, as West Ham just managed to finalise the signing of Jarrod Bowen from Hull City for a reported initial fee of £22million.

Aston Villa also announced a new striker signing about 10 minutes before the window closed, Borja Baston joining on a free transfer from Swansea City.

Elsewhere in England, Tariq Lamptey took the decision to leave Chelsea and sign for Brighton and Hove Albion on a contract until 2023. The Seagulls have also brought back Alexis Mac Allister from Boca Juniors, where he was on loan.


LOANS GALORE

Sheffield United had a busy end to the window, securing the arrival of Panos Retsos - initially on loan but with the option of a permanent deal - from Bayer Leverkusen, while Ravel Morrison has been sent on loan to Middlesbrough, having made one Premier League appearance this season.

Leicester City have loaned Ryan Bennett from Wolves, with Filip Benkovic allowed to leave for Bristol City for the remainder of the campaign with a view to earning regular game time.

Everton have sent Jonas Lossl back to Huddersfield Town on loan, while Connor Wickham is also heading to the Championship, the Crystal Palace striker moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Wolves have secured the signing of Luke Matheson, who famously scored at Old Trafford in September as a 16-year-old, and loaned him back to Rochdale for the remainder of the season.

Leverkusen have also brought in a signing for the future, with Edmond Tapsoba arriving from Vitoria SC for a fee said to be between €16m and €18m.
 

SERIE A FLURRY

Italy's window closed a little earlier than some others and there was a flurry of deals around the deadline.

Marko Pjaca will get the chance to kick-start his career with Anderlecht, Juventus having allowed the winger to leave on loan for the remainder of the season as he looks to earn regular first-team football.

Milan have signed Alexis Saelemaekers, a highly rated 20-year-old from Anderlecht who arrives on loan with the option of a permanent move.

Fiorentina have had a busy end to the window. Kevin Agudelo has joined the Viola from Genoa on an 18-month loan deal, while Valentin Eysseric has been sent to Hellas Verona until June.

Maya Yoshida secured a switch to Sampdoria from Southampton, while Gaston Pereiro's move from PSV to Cagliari was ratified. He will be joined in Sardinia by Alberto Paloschi, with Alberto Cerri heading the other way to SPAL.

Gervinho, meanwhile, has taken another step in his nomadic career by moving to Al Sadd from Parma, who brought in Vasco Regini on loan from Samp.
 

BUSY BARCA

Barcelona will give new €10m signing Matheus Fernandes for time to acclimatise to LaLiga, spending the rest of 2019-20 with Real Valladolid.

Barca have also sent Moussa Wague on loan to Nice, who have the option of a €10m permanent deal, while Ligue 1 rivals Lyon have signed Camilo Reijers de Oliveira for €2m.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was a shock signing for Barca 12 months ago and the experienced forward is on the move again, this time heading to Besiktas on loan from Fiorentina.

Leganes bolstered their attacking depth with two loan deals, bringing in Roger Assale from Young Boys and former player Miguel Angel Guerrero from Olympiacos.

Getafe have landed Erick Cabaco on a permanent deal, the defender joining from Levante, Granada have signed Gil Dias on loan from Monaco, and Real Sociedad have sold Ruben Pardo to Bordeaux.

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, have loaned Emre Mor to Olympiacos, while a late, late deal that saw Nicolas Gaitan sign for Lille for the rest of the season was completed in time.

Maurizio Sarri hailed "champion" Cristiano Ronaldo after his brace saw Juventus to a precious 2-1 Serie A home win against Parma.

Ronaldo scored in either half to clinch victory on Sunday, capitalising on title rivals Inter's failure to beat Lecce earlier in the day.

The Portuguese was a defensive contributor, too, yet he was outjumped by Andreas Cornelius as Parma briefly pulled level.

Sarri is happy to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to his star man, though.

"We have a champion who sometimes creates a problem for you but solves 100 of them," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The rest of the team has to revolve around him."

Ronaldo had chances for further goals, and Sarri was frustrated with his team's inability to extend their lead and set up a straightforward finale.

"The mental intensity can be improved, even the management of certain moments of the matches," he said. "I don't even like dribbling in our own half in the last few minutes.

"I would prefer to concede a goal on the counter-attack than in our own penalty area.

"Putting Higuain on at 2-1 was a clear message to the team: let's end the game."

Victory saw Juve move four points clear of second-placed Inter, although Lazio are also a threat a further two points back but with a game in hand.

However, Sarri is concerned by neither the Nerazzurri nor the in-form capital club.

"I have a fear for other things, not for football. Concern? Even that [would not describe it]," he said. "We are talking about sports.

"We know we have two very strong opponents. One is in an amazing moment that will hopefully not last long."

Cristiano Ronaldo acknowledged the importance of Juventus winning against Parma after seeing Serie A title rivals Inter draw at Lecce earlier on Sunday.

Ronaldo scored both goals in a 2-1 home win for the Bianconeri, who moved four points clear of Inter after Antonio Conte's men were held 1-1 earlier in the day.

Talismanic forward Ronaldo was in typically inspirational form, but he valued the victory above his personal heroics.

"The important thing was to win tonight," the striker told Sky Sport Italia. "Lazio won, Inter drew, and we could not afford not to take advantage of this important opportunity.

"It was a difficult game, because Parma are an excellent team who caused us some difficulties.

"I'm happy to have helped the team with two goals, but the important thing is always the three points at the end.

"They created more chances in the second half - we were nervous at the end - but we managed to get a key result."

Juve face Napoli away in their next Serie A match but must first take on Roma in another tricky fixture in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo fired reigning Serie A champions Juventus four points clear at the top of the table with a brace in a 2-1 win at home to Parma.

Juve were given an unexpected boost in the title race earlier on Sunday when Inter were held 1-1 at Lecce, and Ronaldo ensured his side took full advantage.

Maurizio Sarri's men were not wholly convincing but, in the Portuguese, had the game's outstanding player, who opened the scoring late in the first half.

Andreas Cornelius outjumped Ronaldo for an unlikely equaliser, yet revenge was swift for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, a second goal soon sealing victory for the leaders.

Alex Sandro headed just over from an early corner, but the left-back had to be replaced by Danilo after 21 minutes as Juve struggled to get into their stride.

Ronaldo worked room for a shot on the right-hand side of the area, drawing a good save from Luigi Sepe that prompted another corner from which the Juve number seven wastefully missed the target.

The former Real Madrid superstar continued to provide the Bianconeri's chief threat and forged the breakthrough two minutes before half-time, cutting inside from the left to shoot hard and low, his effort taking a deflection that wrongfooted Sepe and nestled in the net.

Aaron Ramsey drilled agonisingly wide before the break, while only a superb one-handed Sepe stop denied Danilo from 20 yards following the restart.

It was a Parma substitute who scored the next goal, however, Cornelius - on for Roberto Inglese moments after the opener - rising above Ronaldo from a right-wing corner to nod in a towering header.

But Ronaldo's response was ruthless, meeting Paulo Dybala's cutback with a clinical first-time finish just three minutes later to clinch the points.

He might have completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes, but Sepe blocked a strike from the right before a header from the consequent corner looped over, and a curled strike from the left drifted wide.


What does it mean? Perennial champions back on top

Inter have looked capable of pushing Juventus all the way this season, but a gap has emerged at the top in the past week. Consecutive Nerazzurri draws have opened the door for the Turin giant and with the help of the inspirational Ronaldo, they have stepped right through. Juve are not in the business of letting such advantages slip.

Ronaldo reigns

The talismanic forward was signed largely to lead a Champions League charge, but Inter's impressive form has meant Juventus must also rely on Ronaldo to do the business domestically. He made no mistake on Sunday, deserving his fortune for the first goal and tucking away the second in style.

Ramsey reserved

Sarri has rotated between Ramsey and Gonzalo Higuain in recent weeks, feeling the front three that incorporates the latter is not suited to every match. But it was Ramsey who struggled to make an impact on this occasion, passing up a big chance late in the first half before he was replaced by Higuain after 59 minutes.

What's next?

Juventus have a big week coming up, first playing Roma at home in the Coppa Italia last eight on Wednesday before visiting Napoli in Serie A on Sunday. Parma host Udinese next weekend.

Wolves star Adama Traore is reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City.

Traore, formerly of Barcelona, has continued to impress this season, helping Wolves sit seventh in the Premier League.

Now, the former Spain youth international is reportedly being targeted by three of Europe's biggest clubs.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, BARCELONA & MAN CITY EYE TRAORE

Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City are interested in signing Traore, according to 90min.

Traore has scored four goals and provided four assists in the Premier League this season.

The report says Wolves want at least £70million for Traore.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Olmo is expected to leave Dinamo Zagreb and is being eyed by several European giants. Goal reports Barcelona lead Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the 21-year-old Spain international.

- Arturo Vidal is linked with a move to Inter, but he may be going nowhere. The cover of Sport reads 'You stay', with the report saying Barcelona have told the midfielder he will remain with the LaLiga giants due to his importance to the club.

- Chelsea have identified their top January transfer target. The Daily Express reports the Premier League side want Inter forward Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa this month to ease the pressure on Tammy Abraham.

- Inter are considering reinforcements on the left-hand side. CalcioMercato says Chelsea's Marcos Alonso and Parma's Matteo Darmian are both being considered by the Serie A high-flyers.

- It seems Edinson Cavani's time at Paris Saint-Germain is just about over. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Atletico Madrid and Cavani have an agreement in place and the LaLiga club want the forward to arrive in January.

- Wojciech Szczesny is set to extend his stay at Juventus. The goalkeeper will re-sign with the Serie A giants until 2024, according to CalcioMercato.

Juventus have completed the signing of Dejan Kulusevski from Atalanta for an initial €35million and allowed him to remain on loan at Parma.

Sweden international Kulusevski has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract and the fee for his arrival could increase by a further €9m in bonuses.

The 19-year-old midfielder joined Atalanta from Brommapojkarna in 2016 and made three first-team appearances before being sent on loan to Parma for the 2019-20 season.

Kulusevski has impressed at the Ennio Tardini, scoring four goals and supplying seven assists in 17 league appearances, and he will remain there until the end of the campaign, as per a fresh agreement with Juve.

The arrival of Kulusevski may pave the way for Emre Can to leave the Bianconeri at the end of the season, should he not depart in January.

Germany international Can has only featured seven times for Juve this season and has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.

Dejan Kulusevski is closing in on a move to Juventus reportedly worth an initial €35million after arriving at the club's facility to undergo a medical.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the deal for Kulusevski could rise by a further €9m and he will sign a contract until June 2024.

The 19-year-old joined Atalanta from Brommapojkarna in 2016 but only featured for the first team three times before being sent on loan to Parma for the 2019-20 campaign.

Kulusevski has shone at the Ennio Tardini, scoring four goals and supplying seven assists in 17 Serie A appearances, and his form has not gone unnoticed by the eight-time defending champions.

While it remains unclear if Kulusevski will remain at Parma for the rest of the season, the Swede's impending arrival could pave the way for Emre Can to leave Juve in the January transfer window.

Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund have been linked with a move for Germany international Can, who has played seven times for the Bianconeri this term.

Everton have completed a major coup in appointing Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

Ancelotti, who previously managed in the Premier League with Chelsea, returns to England after he was sacked by Napoli on December 10, despite guiding the Serie A club to the Champions League knockout stages.

He replaces Marco Silva, who was dismissed on December 5 following a 5-2 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby, with Duncan Ferguson having been in temporary charge since then.

The Italian – the first coach from his nation to win the Premier League – has had a glittering career, taking charge of 735 top-flight matches in total thanks to spells at Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

As Ancelotti takes over at Goodison, we have used Opta data to take a look at his glittering career in numbers.

 

Parma

33 - Of his 68 league matches at the helm at Parma between 1996 and 1998, Ancelotti won 33 times, suffering 14 defeats.

2 - Parma finished second in Serie A in their first season under Ancelotti, though could only manage a sixth-place finish in the following campaign.


Juventus

61 - Ancelotti took charge of 82 top-flight games in Turin, managing 50 wins – giving him a 61 per cent win ratio. 

0 - Across 23 seasons in management, Ancelotti has never finished outside of the top seven in any domestic league, coming seventh only once, with Juve in 1998-99.


Milan

282 - Ancelotti's longest spell at one club came at Milan, where he spent eight seasons, managing the Rossoneri in 282 league fixtures.

1 - His first league title came in 2003-04, when Milan finished top of Serie with 82 points.

3 - Milan's Serie A success came on the back of glory in the Champions League in 2002-03. Ancelotti has won Europe's biggest prize on three occasions, with only Zinedine Zidane and former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley able to match that total. 


Chelsea

4 - Only four coaches to have managed 30 or more games in the Premier League have a higher win percentage than Ancelotti's 63.2 – Jurgen Klopp, Alex Ferguson, Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola.

103 - Chelsea set a Premier League goals record for a single season when they netted 103 times under Ancelotti during 2009-10. It is a record which was only surpassed by Manchester City in 2017-18.

172 - In total, Chelsea scored 172 goals in 76 league fixtures while Ancelotti was in charge at Stamford Bridge.


Paris Saint-Germain

47.4 - Fixing Everton's leaky defence will be a top priority for Ancelotti, who during his time at PSG had a clean sheet percentage of 47.4, with the Ligue 1 giants not conceding in 27 out of 57 matches.

297 - In total during his two seasons at Parc des Princes, PSG had 297 shots on target. That was, however, significantly fewer than Ancelotti's Chelsea (532) or Madrid (583) sides managed.


Real Madrid

1428 - Los Blancos had almost 1500 shots during Ancelotti's time at the club.

867 - However, they were also the most open at the back when compared to Chelsea, PSG, Bayern and Napoli, allowing 867 attempts at their own goal.

1 - Spain is the only country in which Ancelotti has not won a league title. He also won his third Champions League crown with Madrid, in 2014.


Bayern Munich

68.6 - Having taken over from Guardiola, it is no surprise to see that possession was the order of the day for Ancelotti at Bayern, who averaged 68.6 per cent of the ball under his tutelage.

89 - In Ancelotti's only full campaign at Bayern, they scored 89 Bundesliga goals, conceding just 22 in return.


Napoli

29 - From 53 matches in charge of Napoli in Serie A, Ancelotti claimed 29 victories. His record in 2019-20 was a comparatively poor one, however, with four defeats and six draws from 15 games.

735 - After leaving Napoli, Ancelotti has taken charge of 735 top-tier league fixtures, with a win percentage of 60.5.

998 - Napoli had just under 1000 shots at goal during Ancelotti's spell.

Erling Haaland is sought after across Europe and it seems Juventus have made the first move.

Haaland, 19, has already scored 28 goals in 21 games for Salzburg this season, including eight in the Champions League.

The Norway forward is attracting interest from the world's biggest clubs and Juventus are not prepared to wait around.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS OFFER HAALAND €3M PER SEASON

Juventus have offered Haaland €3million per season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Haaland has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund among others.

Juve may be looking to add some youth to their attack, with Cristiano Ronaldo (34) and Gonzalo Higuain (31) in their 30s and Mario Mandzukic (33) out of favour.

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal are still looking for a replacement for Unai Emery. Former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac wants the job, according to Goal, while the Daily Express reports there is a tug of war between the Premier League club and Manchester City over Mikel Arteta, who is an assistant at the Etihad Stadium.

- A 1-1 draw at Udinese on Saturday left Napoli winless in nine matches, further increasing the pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti. CalcioMercato reports a lack of good options to replace Ancelotti have bought the Italian more time, but Napoli must beat Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

- At Everton, Shanghai SIPG coach Vitor Pereira is the favourite to be named Marco Silva's successor, according to the Daily Mail. David Moyes and Eddie Howe are reportedly the other leading candidates.

- Chris Smalling has impressed while on loan at Roma. Now, Inter and Juventus have joined Roma in wanting to sign the defender permanently from Manchester United, according to Sport Witness.

- Seemingly no longer in Chelsea's plans, Pedro could be set to leave Stamford Bridge. The Daily Mail reports Aston Villa are ready to offer the Spanish forward a way out of the club.

- Inter are interested in Parma midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, who is on loan from Atalanta, according to CalcioMercato.

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