AC Milan have included Daniel Maldini, son of club great Paolo, in their squad for a Serie A game for the first time.

The 18-year-old forward could make his senior debut for the Rossoneri at home to Napoli on Saturday with Milan having struggled for form despite replacing Marco Giampaolo with Stefano Pioli.

Milan have lost three of their past four league games to slip to 14th in the Serie A table with teenager Maldini having the chance to follow in the footsteps of the club's famous family.

His grandfather Cesare won four league titles with Milan and also coached the team to European Cup Winners' Cup glory, while Paolo is considered one of the greatest defenders in Italian football history.

Paolo is now a director at the club and he could see Daniel become the latest Maldini star for Milan, who have been linked with a move for former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Daniel Maldini signed a new five-year contract with Milan earlier this month, the forward having featured during the International Champions Cup in pre-season.

Cristiano Ronaldo says is focused on returning to full fitness after being left out of the Juventus squad for Saturday's Serie A game away to Atalanta.

Head coach Maurizio Sarri told reporters Ronaldo was unlikely to be available for the trip to Bergamo and he was duly absent when the squad was named later on Friday.

Ronaldo has been substituted in Juve's last two games, prompting rumours of a rift between the forward and Sarri, though both men have denied that is the case.

It is unclear whether the Portugal star will be ready to return for Tuesday's Champions League group game at home to Atletico Madrid.

"Focused on my recovery to come back soon!" Ronaldo posted on Instagram after being left out of the Juve squad.

Serie A leaders Juve are on track to reach the next round of the Champions League after taking 10 points from their first four games in Group D.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal in their 6-0 demolition of Lithuania before netting his 99th international goal in a 2-0 win against Luxembourg.

Sarri previously said the 34-year-old is battling a knee issue and Ronaldo revealed he has been playing through pain.

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has repeated his praise of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but insists the Serie A club are not yet focusing on new signings.

Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to Milan, where he spent two seasons between 2010 and 2012 before moving to Paris Saint-Germain, after the 38-year-old left MLS club LA Galaxy.

Pioli has previously lauded Ibrahimovic, however, he insisted it was too early to talk about the upcoming transfer window in January.

Milan's coach was pressed for his thoughts on Ibrahimovic - who is now reported to be a target for new Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho - ahead of Saturday's clash with Napoli, but Pioli reiterated the Rossoneri are not yet focused on January arrivals.

"I have already explained what I think, he is a great champion for his technical skills and his professionalism," Pioli told a news conference.

"I end it here, our present is too important.

"With the team I have to think only of the field and tomorrow's match. For judgments on the market, I will do it later, we are only in November.

"We are focused on the difficult and very important match of tomorrow. We have to give 200 per cent and that's what I expect from the team."

Milan sit 14th in Serie A, having taken just 13 points from their opening 12 matches of the season.

However, Pioli believes Milan's display in a 1-0 defeat to Juventus before the international break gives his side a platform from which to build on.

"It starts from the performance in Turin, which was against one of the best in Europe," Pioli added.

"We now play against a strong team like Napoli which is equipped for the Champions League and to win the Scudetto. Napoli are strong but we are not far behind."

Antonio Conte has revealed he advises his Inter players on how to have sex during the football season in order to maximise their on-field performance.

The 50-year-old, who won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2017 and three Serie A titles with Juventus, took over as Inter boss in May.

Inter have made an impressive start to the campaign, winning 10 of their opening 12 league matches to leave themselves a point adrift of leaders Juventus.

A part of their success could be down to the bizarre off-field demands of Conte, the Italian coach admitting he urges his players not to over-exert themselves in the bedroom.

"During the season, I advise my players to have sex for short periods and with the minimum of effort," he told L'Equipe. 

"And preferably with their wives, because if with others, well, that needs extra action."

Inter are back in action on Saturday after a two-week break with a trip to Torino, who ended a six-game winless run last time out.

Conte confirmed at Friday's pre-match news conference that Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini and Kwadwo Asamoah are still injured, but Danilo D'Ambrosio is back in contention.

"When there is a break it is difficult to prepare for games," he told reporters. "Yesterday I welcomed back all the players who were away with their national teams.

"Sensi, Gagliardini and Asamoah are unavailable. Sensi missed last month and has had a few problems. We are trying to get him back to his best condition so that he can help the group when back.

"D'Ambrosio has recovered and must now get back to his best. He is a very versatile player, a joker in the pack that can be used in the centre and out wide. It's very important to have players like him to count on."

Lukaku is expected to lead the line for Inter in Turin and Conte is happy with the Belgium international, despite him firing blanks in back-to-back games before the two-week break.

"He is very important to us, as is Lautaro [Martinez]," Conte added. "Both players are doing very well - there is little else more to say.

"They are both doing great work for the team and I am very happy. I hope they can continue in the same way."

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss Juventus' trip to Atalanta this weekend due to fitness concerns, but head coach Maurizio Sarri has insisted he has no problem with the superstar forward.

The 34-year-old was upset at being substituted early in the second half of Juve's 1-0 win over AC Milan in their most recent match, four days after being withdrawn against Lokomotiv Moscow.

Sarri cited a bruised knee for his decision to bring off Ronaldo and the Portugal international this week confirmed he has recently been playing through the pain barrier.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal in their 6-0 demolition of Lithuania last week before netting his 99th international goal in Sunday's 2-0 win against Luxembourg.

Love this feeling  pic.twitter.com/e7bZ9vtJJU

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) November 15, 2019

However, despite featuring twice for his country, Sarri revealed at Friday's pre-match news conference that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is still not fully fit.

"There is no need to explain his reaction to being substituted," Sarri told reporters. "Even among amateurs the reaction to being substituted is the same.

"If anything, the problem is that on Tuesday he told us he had the same issue and we have prepared a programme that will allow him to overcome the problem.

"There is a 99 per cent chance he will not be available for tomorrow's game. The goal is to be ready for the Champions League match with Atletico Madrid."

Blaise Matuidi withdrew from France's squad due to a rib injury sustained against Milan two weeks ago, but he is back in contention for Saturday's meeting with Atalanta.

"He still feels a little pain, but he played the whole training session with us yesterday and will be available," Sarri said.

"Alex Sandro's problem is less serious than it had initially seemed, while Adrien Rabiot and Juan Cuadrado have adductor problems, but Miralem Pjanic will be available."

Juventus are a point better off than Inter at the top of Serie A ahead of their trip to Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia after winning three league games in a row.

Opponents Atalanta have won just one of their last five league matches, but they lead the scoring charts in Italy's top flight and Sarri is fully aware of their strengths.

"They have a way of playing with great intensity. To call it annoying is an understatement," he said. "They are a strong and dangerous team, one that is difficult to face.

"But changing mentality for a single opponent is impossible. It takes months to build a mentality - we have to go our own way."

Are we about to see a Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic reunion?

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic worked together at Inter, before the Portuguese manager brought the Swedish star to Manchester United in 2016.

Now, new Tottenham boss Mourinho is reportedly eyeing the 38-year-old striker.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TARGETING IBRA

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is poised to make a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to the Telegraph.

Ibrahimovic is on the lookout for a new club after opting to leave MLS outfit LA Galaxy following two seasons in the United States.

The 38-year-old has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna, Napoli, Manchester United and Australian team Perth Glory; however, Mourinho reportedly wants to reunite with Ibrahimovic at Tottenham.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spanish newspaper Sport reports a close friend of Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus predicting he will get the Barcelona job if his side win Saturday's Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, who are led by another reputed Catalan target in Marcelo Gallardo. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at the LaLiga champions.

Real Madrid are set to open talks with star striker Karim Benzema over a new contract, Marca reports. The 31-year-old's current deal expires in 2021.

- Out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is wanted by LaLiga's Atletico Madrid, according to ESPN FC. Matic has struggled for game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with AC Milan and Inter also interested.

- With Tottenham reportedly looking to hijack AC Milan's pursuit of Ibrahimovic, Sky Sport Italia says the Rossoneri are rivalling Inter and Borussia Dortmund for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud.

- The Daily Mail reports that Leicester City have opened talks with James Maddison over a new contract. The 22-year-old England international has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Partizan Belgrade sensation Strahinja Pavlovic is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 outfit Monaco. Sportski Zurnal says the 18-year-old defender has undergone a medical ahead of a €10million transfer plus add-ons.

Nicolo Zaniolo said he is "very happy" at Roma amid links to Premier League giants Manchester United.

Zaniolo signed a long-term contract with Roma through to June 2024, but it has not stopped speculation over his future.

The 20-year-old Italy international, who joined Roma last season, has reportedly attracted interest from United.

But Zaniolo wants to repay the confidence shown in him by Serie A side Roma.

"The minimum objective this season is to improve day by day. We want to win every game. The objective is qualifying for the Champions League," Zaniolo told Sky Sport Italia.

"I'm very happy, Roma have given me so much confidence, now I'll repay it on the pitch. I'm proud to represent these fans, I feel very good here.

"The things Fonseca has to say, he says to your face. He's a very direct person and he’s helping me improve."

Zaniolo scored a brace in Italy's 9-1 demolition of Armenia in Euro 2020 qualifying on Monday.

At club level, Zaniolo has netted five goals in all competitions for Roma this term.

Winger Juan Cuadrado has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract extension at Juventus, the Serie A champions have confirmed.

The 31-year-old Colombia international joined Juve initially in August 2015, in the first of two consecutive season-long loans from Chelsea.

A permanent €20million switch was finally secured ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Cuadrado has won the Scudetto in each of his four seasons in Serie A, along with three Coppas Italia and a Supercoppa Italiana.

The former Fiorentina man has 15 goals and 28 assists in Juve colours, although he has generally been more concerned with defensive duties this season.

Injury problems forced Maurizio Sarri to field Cuadrado as a full-back, and the majority of his 14 appearances in all competitions this term have come on the right-hand side of defence.

Cuadrado is the second senior member of Juventus' squad to pen fresh terms this week after Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci renewed until June 2024.

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

Cristiano Ronaldo has made FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week after moving onto 99 international goals for Portugal.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo is closing on Ali Daei's all-time world record of 109 after another four goals in the international break.

Ronaldo hit a ruthless hat-trick against Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying, before netting again against Luxembourg to nudge towards three figures.

He is joined in a thrilling FUT front three by Harry Kane and Eden Hazard.

Kane ended the qualifying campaign having netted in all eight matches, hitting 12 goals in total as the competition's leading scorer.

Hazard is struggling for Real Madrid but scored twice in Belgium's win at Russia, while midfielders Toni Kroos and John McGinn were rewarded for their own goalscoring exploits.

Nicolas Otamendi, often seen as a liability at Manchester City, earned a place with his performances for Argentina.

We take a look at the latest squad in full below.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) - 86

CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

CB: Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 82

RB: Stefan Lainer (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

CM: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid) - 84

CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - 89

LM: Ole Kristian Selnaes (Shenzhen FC) - 81

CAM : John McGinn (Aston Villa) - 84

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) - 94

LF: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) - 92

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 91

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Andre Onana (Ajax) - 84

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

RW: Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma) - 80

RM: Robert Skov (Hoffenheim) - 81

RW: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) - 86

ST: Raul Jimenez (Wolves) - 83

ST: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) - 81

RESERVES

CB: Scott Wharton (Northampton Town) - 74

CDM: Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow) - 80

ST: Famara Diedhiou (Bristol City) - 79

ST: Victor Osimhen (Lille) - 80

LW: Duvan Vergara (America de Cali) - 76

Jose Mourinho has been given a shot at Premier League redemption with Tottenham.

Almost a year on from his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the two-time Champions League winner has an unexpected chance to prove his best work is not confined to the past.

As the Special One aims to rise again, we reflect on the highs and lows of a managerial career full of highlights and high drama.


HIGHS

Upstaging the elite with Porto

Mourinho made his name at Porto, where he orchestrated perhaps the most unlikely Champions League triumph of the 21st century. Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were among the stars of the side that overcame future employers United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna en route to a meeting with Monaco in Gelsenkirchen. An emphatic 3-0 win secured Mourinho the continent's most coveted trophy in just his second full season in charge and laid the foundation for a silver-tinged future.


Tripletta treat

Inter snapped up Mourinho in June 2008, less than a year on from his initial split with Chelsea. It proved a perfect marriage of two tempestuous forces. After cantering to the Scudetto at the first attempt, Mourinho set his sights on guiding the Nerazzurri to greater heights in 2009-10. He did that and then some. Inter pipped Roma to the title, won the Coppa Italia and, after stunning Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho scaled Europe's highest peak for the second time, a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich crowning a magnificent treble.


Madrid make history

Mourinho's decision to depart San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu brought little immediate success as Real Madrid claimed only the Copa del Rey in an underwhelming 2010-11 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo had grander plans and his 46 goals the following season fired Los Blancos to a LaLiga title, their one and only under Mourinho. Most impressive was the team's final tally of 100 points, at the time a LaLiga record.


The best of the rest

In a January 2019 interview with beIN SPORTS, Mourinho suggested some would call him "crazy" for regarding a second-place finish with United as one of his greatest achievements. On reflection, it seems a reasonable assertion. United might have finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 but now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to cobble together a team fit for Europe, finishing above Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal appears an admirable feat.

LOWS

Chelsea return ruined

Parting ways with Chelsea once must have been painful enough for a manager who won worldwide recognition in his first Premier League job. To leave in ignominious circumstances a second time surely rankles among his greatest regrets. The Blues described Mourinho as a "much-loved, respected and significant figure" after relieving him of his duties in December 2015 but it was clear that not all held the same affection for him. Mourinho suggested he felt "betrayed" by his players amid a miserable beginning to their title defence, leaving a stain on his Stamford Bridge legacy.

Problems with Pogba

Mourinho arrived at United at the same time as Paul Pogba and together the pair were supposed to lead a renaissance. Instead, they became caught in a vortex of middling results and worse relations. Mourinho's failure to extract the best from Pogba on the pitch, and their frosty exchanges off it, portrayed a manager unable to elevate top-class talent. His treatment of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial attracted further criticism and echoed the sort of strained relationships that were apparent in Madrid, Mourinho having notably not seen eye to eye with Iker Casillas.

Down and out at United

Never before his exit from Old Trafford had Mourinho departed a club without winning a league title. Several were expected when he took charge of the Red Devils in 2016 and, though the resources of neighbours City reframed the standard measure of success, trophies in the EFL Cup and Europa League fell short of the brief. Mourinho stakes his reputation on winning major honours, not friends, yet he left with few of either when United called time on his reign almost 12 months ago. A playing style deemed unacceptable by supporters only contributed to the sense that the new Tottenham boss squandered an opportunity he keenly coveted. He will hope to avoid a repeat.

Manchester City are going to great lengths to keep Raheem Sterling.

Though contracted until 2023, the England international's exceptional form has led to links with Real Madrid.

But it could earn him a fresh extension to his bumper deal at the Etihad Stadium.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SEEK STERLING INSURANCE

Premier League champions City have opened contract talks with star forward Sterling, according to the Mirror.

The 24-year-old agreed a new three-year extension a mere 12 months ago but City are taking no chances with his future amid rumours of interest from LaLiga giants Madrid.

Sterling has scored 14 goals in 17 club appearances this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Corriere dello Sport says Juventus are preparing a €100million offer for Valencia winger Ferran Torres, who has also been linked to Liverpool.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Tottenham teenager Troy Parrott and Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, reports the Daily Mail. Parrott, 17, has caught the eye, while Henderson is on loan at Sheffield United.

- Napoli have offered Fabian Ruiz a contract extension through to 2025, claims Mundo Deportivo. Barcelona and Madrid are rumoured to want the Spain international midfielder.

- According to reports in Spain, Athletic Bilbao want to re-sign Javi Martinez from Bayern Munich. Martinez left the Basque club for Bayern in 2012.

Bonucci renews with Juve

November 19, 2019

Leonardo Bonucci has signed a contract extension with Juventus running until June 2024, the Serie A champions have confirmed.

Italy centre-back Bonucci is in his second spell at Juve, having stunned the football world with a €42million switch to AC Milan in 2017.

However, the 32-year-old was back in Turin for the start of the following campaign and he has now committed for the next four-and-a-half seasons.

Initially signed from Bari in 2010, Bonucci has made 376 appearances and scored 17 times for the Bianconeri.

He has proved a pivotal figure under Maurizio Sarri, who was installed as Juventus head coach before the start of the 2019-20 season.

Bonucci is an ever-present in Serie A and the Champions League this term, while also featuring for the national team throughout their unblemished qualification campaign for Euro 2020.

Monday's 9-1 thrashing of Armenia was Bonucci's 95th cap for Italy.

Juve are also reported to be closing in on contract renewals for goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and winger Juan Cuadrado.

Leonardo Bonucci has signed a contract extension with Juventus running until June 2024, the Serie A champions have confirmed.

Matthijs de Ligt feels a degree of regret about choosing Juventus over Barcelona, according to the Catalan club's director of youth football Patrick Kluivert.

Juve beat out strong competition to sign Netherlands international De Ligt from Ajax in June.

The defender had been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca but opted to sign a five-year deal in Turin after Ajax accepted an offer worth an initial €75million.

De Ligt was thrust into the starting XI after Giorgio Chiellini suffered a serious knee injury and has faced criticism for conceding two penalties – both for handball – in his nine Serie A appearances.

Former Netherlands striker Kluivert believes the 20-year-old may now be second-guessing his transfer choice.

"I would not say I tried to convince him, I could only tell him very good things about both Barcelona the city, as well as the club," Kluivert told Mundo Deportivo when asked about talks he held with De Ligt.

"But in the end it is the player and his agent who decide. Of course De Ligt is a great defender, but in the end he made a choice. I think he is a little sorry, but it is what it is.

"In life you make choices and sometimes you do it well and sometimes badly. You have to learn from your decisions."

Frenkie de Jong, De Ligt's former Ajax team-mate, did make the move to Barca in the close season and has flourished, with Kluivert praising the "very high quality" midfielder.

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman coaches both players at international level and has called the Barca job a "possibility" beyond Euro 2020, after which a clause in his contract would allow him to leave for Camp Nou.

When asked whether Koeman could return to the club as head coach, Kluivert told SPORT: "I don't know, maybe, but I insist, out of respect for Valverde, I don't want to talk about other coaches when there's one in a job at this club."

He added: "I know Ronald very well. Out of respect for Valverde, I don't want to position myself.

"[Koeman] is a very good coach, he's doing really well with the Dutch national team."

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