Kaka labelled Lionel Messi a "genius" as he picked the Barcelona superstar over Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi – winner of a record six Ballons d'Or – and Ronaldo are regarded as two of the greatest ever players, with debate often centred on who stands alone atop the all-time list.

Kaka played alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid, but the 2007 Ballon d'Or winner selected Messi as his preferred choice.

"I played with Cristiano and he's really amazing, but I'll go with Messi," Kaka said when asked who he would pick out of Messi or Ronaldo during an Instagram Live Q&A for FIFA's channel.

"He's a genius, a pure talent. The way he plays is incredible."

But on five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, Kaka added: "Cristiano is a machine. It's not just the way he's strong, powerful and fast; he's strong mentally.

"He always wants to win and play. To be the best. For me, that's the most incredible thing he has.

"In the history of sport, they [Messi and Cristiano] are definitely in the top five. We are very lucky to have been able to see both of them."

Barcelona should prioritise re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain over bringing Lautaro Martinez to Camp Nou, insisted former star Rivaldo.

LaLiga champions Barca tried to lure Neymar back to the club following his world-record €222million move to PSG in 2017, however, a deal did not materialise at the start of the season.

Barca are also reportedly determined to sign Inter's star forward Martinez as they eye a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

Rivaldo – who won a pair of LaLiga titles during his time with the Catalan giants – believes Neymar is ready to lead Barca alongside six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi.

"The rumours are growing about Barcelona's intention to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez in the next transfer window," Rivaldo wrote in his column for Betfair.

"Although the young Argentinian is a good player, I think that only Neymar is a certain bet to claim a place in the starting XI side by side with Messi.

"Looking at the last few years we have seen many valuable players who didn't manage to play alongside Messi - failing to perform under the expectations.

"But Neymar - like Luis Suarez - is one of the few players in the world that doesn't feel pressure on the pitch, always playing with plenty of personality.

"He never gets frightened and it would be a safe option for the club while Martinez is a young, talented forward that perhaps in two or three years may become a good signing.

"For now I think the club should prioritise Neymar. I'm a fan of his qualities and personality and I know that sometimes I'm liable to criticism as some Barcelona fans didn't like the way Neymar decided to leave the club.

"But the truth is that he is a different player now who should be a nice help to Messi and co. in trying to win another Champions League."

The 2019-20 Serie A season will not resume until "health conditions allow it" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Serie A was suspended indefinitely last month with Italy hit hard by COVID-19 – more than 14,600 of the global deaths, which has exceeded 58,800, coming from the European country.

Returning at the end of May had been an initial target but those plans have been scrapped following Friday's meeting between Lega Serie A and the Italian Players' Association (AIC).

"The Lega Serie A assembly meeting took place this afternoon, with all 20 clubs present via video conference," the statement read.

"The position that emerged from talks between UEFA, ECA and the European Leagues held yesterday was represented at the meeting.

"With regards to the possible completion of the remaining Serie A and Coppa Italia matches, Lega Serie A will only consider the resumption of sporting activity when health conditions allow it, adhering, as it has always done, to government decrees and taking into primary consideration the protection of the health of the players and all those involved.

"In facing the different scenarios, which are still uncertain, Lega Serie A - with the participation of club representatives - will continue to analyse the impact and consequences of COVID-19 on medical, economic, regulatory, sporting and risk-assessment levels for the clubs and Lega Serie A itself in the coming days."

Defending champions Juventus were one point clear of Lazio through 26 matches when the league was suspended.

The last Serie A match took place on March 9, with Sassuolo accounting for Brescia 3-0.

The resumption of football in Europe's top five leagues still appears some way off due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving players with plenty of time to analyse their performances this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking, passing and defensive numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of the goalkeepers.

We have analysed five metrics for keepers to have featured in at least 10 league games this season, giving us a good summary of those most in need of some improvement.

The metrics include goals conceded, save percentage and drops.

It's time to name and shame...

 

THE WORST GOALKEEPINGING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals conceded: Jiri Pavlenka (53)
Worst save percentage: Roman Burki (53.62 per cent)
Most drops: Alexander Nubel (6)
Worst passing accuracy: Tomas Koubek (54.89)
Worst keeper sweeper accuracy: Leopold Zingerle (0 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals conceded: Diego Lopez (46)
Worst save percentage: Juan Soriano (55 per cent)
Most drops: Simon Unai, Aitor Fernandez, Marko Dmitrovic, Diego Lopez (3)
Worst passing accuracy: David Soria (40.79 per cent)
Worst keeper sweeper accuracy: Simon Unai (33.33 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Milan have reached the €500,000 mark in donations for their coronavirus fundraiser.

The Serie A club set up a GoFundMe page with local charity Fondazione Milan with the aim of gathering support for the Azienda Regionale Emergenza Urgenza (AREU), the emergency arm for the government in the Lombardy region.

Italy has been one of the worst-affected nations during the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 115,000 confirmed cases and over 13,500 deaths related to the virus.

Only the United States and Spain have had more confirmed positive tests during the global health crisis.

Milan and Fondazione Milan got the ball rolling with an initial donation of €250,000, which paid for six AREU medical cars, before asking others to pledge to the cause as they set a €500,000 target.

With over 1,000 donors, they reached that goal on Friday.

Juventus began a similar initiative two days after Milan, with the club and players making an opening contribution of €300,000 towards a €1million aim.

As of Friday, Juve's fundraiser has amassed a total of almost €457,000 in donations.

Italy's football season has been suspended indefinitely due to coronavirus, with prime minister Giuseppe Conte banning clubs from returning to training before April 13 at the earliest.

Liverpool have reportedly put their plans to sign Timo Werner on hold, while Paulo Dybala's future could be clearer soon.

Werner, 24, was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool from RB Leipzig, but the coronavirus pandemic may have changed that.

Meanwhile, Dybala's future is set to be clear shortly.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL PUT WERNER PLANS ON HOLD

Liverpool have put their plans to sign Werner on hold and also stopped contract talks due to coronavirus, according to The Daily Mail.

There is uncertainty over the financial statuses of sporting clubs around the world due to coronavirus and Liverpool are waiting until there is greater clarity.

Star midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and defender Dejan Lovren are among the Liverpool players out of contract in 2021.

One club seemingly not prepared to wait are Juventus, with CalcioMercato reporting Dybala is getting closer to a contract extension with the Serie A giants.

 

ROUND-UP

- Luka Modric is going nowhere. AS claims the midfielder will see out his contract, which runs until 2021, at Real Madrid. Just what Madrid's midfield looks like next season remains to be seen. Sport says Madrid will let James Rodriguez leave and bring Martin Odegaard back from his loan spell at Real Sociedad. It also reports Takefusa Kubo will be used as part of a deal to bring back Odegaard.

- Talk about a deal that would see Neymar return to Barcelona and Antoine Griezmann join Paris Saint-Germain remains alive. According to Sport, PSG would welcome Griezmann while they attempt to re-sign Kylian Mbappe to unite the France team-mates at club level.

- One player unlikely to be at PSG is Edinson Cavani. Tuttosport reports Napoli are thinking about bringing the forward, who is out of contract at the end of the season, back to the Stadio San Paolo.

- Marc-Andre ter Stegen's future remains unclear. Sport claims Barcelona and the goalkeeper are no closer to renewing a contract that will expire in 2022.

- Henrikh Mkhitaryan is seemingly happy on loan at Roma, but whether he stays remains to be seen. The Daily Express says Arsenal have rejected two bids – the last one around €11.4million (£10m) – from the Serie A club, who may instead turn to Chelsea's Pedro.

- As they plan a move for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Chelsea have told Willian he has no chance of getting a three-year deal, according to the Mirror. Willian is out of contract at the end of the season.

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku hit out at officials for allowing Serie A to continue until a player tested positive for coronavirus, insisting health is paramount.

The 2019-20 Serie A season has been suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 53,100 people worldwide.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani was listed as the first Serie A player to contract coronavirus following the club's 2-0 win over Inter behind closed doors on March 8.

With Italy hit hardest by the virus – more than 13,910 deaths – Belgium star Lukaku questioned why the league was not postponed sooner.

"Health comes first. Why should we play if there are people in the world who are risking their lives?" Lukaku said in an interview with Thierry Henry via Puma's Instagram.

"Why was it only necessary for a player to test positive in order for football to stop? It's not normal.

"I will admit that I do miss football, but now the most important thing is people's health. Everything else comes secondary to that."

Amid the hiatus, Lukaku told Henry: "What I miss most is competing with opponents, being in full stadiums and feeling the support from the fans.

"I am using this time to analyse my performances and indeed, more generally, everything I have done in the last six months. You can always improve in football."

Lautaro Martinez is an "asset" for Inter and is happy at the Serie A club despite transfer links, according to their vice-president Javier Zanetti.

Martinez, 22, is reportedly being targeted by the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid after impressing at Inter.

The Argentina international has scored 16 goals in 31 games in all competitions this season.

Zanetti said Martinez was happy at San Siro, where he arrived from Racing Club for a reported €22.7million in 2018.

"I'm happy to talk about [Lautaro] because when we signed him we had been following him for some time," he told Sky Sport on Thursday.

"He was one of the most promising players in Argentine football and [Diego] Milito thought he'd have a big future.

"Now he's an asset for us and he's grown a lot. I see him training every week. He's happy with us and I hope he stays for a long time."

Martinez had helped Inter sit third, nine points behind leaders Juventus, in Serie A when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zanetti hopes normal life can resume soon in Italy, which has been hit hard by coronavirus, with more than 13,900 deaths.

"Thinking about recovery is very difficult today. Until April 13 it is right to stay home to allow the epidemiological curve to go down, then we will return to normal life gradually," he said.

"We are in a dramatic situation all over the world. The coronavirus is affecting many populations and should not be underestimated."

Alessandro Del Piero lauded Paulo Dybala and believes the Juventus star has become "complete" after an off-season transfer saga.

Dybala, 26, was linked with a move away from the Serie A giants during the close season, but ended up staying before making an impressive start to the campaign.

The Argentina international had scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in 34 games before the season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Del Piero, a Juventus great, hailed the playmaker for his growth and said Dybala could be a future captain of the club.

"Paulo has already worn the armband a few times and if it has already happened it is because they consider him to be up to it," he told Sky Sport on Thursday.

"As far as I know him personally, I believe that his maturity has grown a lot, primarily due to the reaction he had after this summer, which underlines the growth in terms of personality.

"He has always been available and dedicated to work and I think he is complete in this respect too."

Juventus were top of Serie A and in the Champions League last 16 when the season was suspended.

Del Piero believes they can win the Champions League for the first time since 1996 if the campaign gets back underway.

"If the tournament will start again, Juve have everything to win this year," he said.

"There are teams that in different ways have the potential to win, but Juve can do it."

Brescia president Massimo Cellino has threatened to forfeit the club's remaining matches if the season resumes.

Serie A is suspended indefinitely with Italy one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cellino, whose Brescia were bottom of the table when the season was stopped, said he was prepared to forfeit each of the club's 12 remaining games if they were forced back onto the field.

"This season doesn't make sense any more," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.

"We've stopped, no team will return as before, the matches will be behind closed doors, plus there's a risk to the health of the athletes. For me, to go back to business is pure madness.

"If they force us to play, I'd be willing to not field the team and lose the matches 3-0 out of respect for the citizens of Brescia and their loved ones who are no longer there."

Brescia is in the Italian region of Lombardy, which has seen 7,960 people die after testing positive for coronavirus.

Cellino said officials could also be putting next season at risk if they decided to resume the 2019-20 campaign.

"It's arrogant and irresponsible. My speech is primarily based on two pillars: respect for health and safety of the footballing system," he said.

"After losing this season, we will also ruin the next one, that would be decisive to start again."

Barcelona are prepared to use Antoine Griezmann in a deal to land Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, 28, has constantly been linked with a return to Camp Nou, but ended up staying at PSG during the last close season.

It seems Barcelona will pursue the Brazil international again and they may be prepared to offer Griezmann in a deal.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO OFFER GRIEZMANN TO PSG IN NEYMAR DEAL

Despite it proving such an ordeal to sign Griezmann in the first place, Barca will try to use him as a makeweight in a deal to land Neymar, according to Sky Sports.

The report says the Spanish giants are prepared to let Griezmann go just one season after signing him from Atletico Madrid, as they reportedly also target Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

Barca will try to sell the forward elsewhere if PSG are not interested, the story claims, with the Frenchman underwhelming since his switch to Camp Nou.

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are apparently preparing for a battle with Germany. The Mirror reports Germany see Jurgen Klopp – contracted at Anfield until 2024 – as a successor to coach Joachim Low.

Manchester United remain interested in Erling Haaland. ESPN claims the Premier League club are again ready to compete for the forward's services with Real Madrid if the Norway international decides to leave Borussia Dortmund.

- Will Gareth Bale remain at Real Madrid? The Mirror suggests the Wales international is ready to fight for his place at the Santiago Bernabeu despite his differences with coach Zinedine Zidane.

Saul Niguez is apparently wanted in the Premier League. AS says Man United are willing to pay around £71million (€80m) for the Atletico midfielder, who has a release clause of £132.5m (€150m).

Barcelona may be prepared to sell players this close season, but Arthur will not be among them. Sport reports the Spanish champions see the midfielder as a key player. Meanwhile, it is also claimed Gent star Jonathan David has been offered to the Blaugrana.

Juventus have reportedly secured the futures of two players. Rai Sport understands Blaise Matuidi has extended his contract with Juve until 2021, while Marko Pjaca – who is on loan at Anderlecht – has agreed to a deal until 2023.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unsure what his future holds amid reports he will leave AC Milan at the end of the season and possibly retire.

Ibrahimovic, 38, returned to Milan in December and scored four goals in 10 appearances before the campaign was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Barcelona, Inter and Manchester United star is reportedly considering his future, with his contract at Milan expiring at season's end.

But Ibrahimovic said even he was unsure about what was ahead as he considers his options.

"Let's see," he told Svenska Dagbladet on Wednesday.

"I don't even know what I want. Something new happens every day. Who could have predicted this with corona? We just have to try to live and enjoy life.

"Don't worry too much. I have a family to take care of, they feel good so I feel good."

Italy has been hit hard by coronavirus, reporting more than 110,000 cases and 13,100 deaths.

Ibrahimovic said the health of the community had to come first, with the Serie A season suspended indefinitely.

"It started to spread to football. They shut down the whole training facility, we were not allowed to move outside," he said.

"It is tragic that football leagues shut down, but we must respect the system and be patient. They must find a solution that is good for the whole community.

"Health is above all sport. I'm not worried about corona. I think it will be solved, it's just to wait until the experts know what to do."

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has banned Serie A clubs from returning to team training until at least April 13.

The Serie A season was suspended indefinitely last month with Italy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Napoli and Lazio were among the clubs to backtrack on plans to return to training last month and with Italy extending their nationwide lockdown until April 13, Conte ruled out any team sessions taking place.

"Actual measures are extended until April 13. We know we are asking another effort, another sacrifice," he said on Wednesday.

"We have to understand one thing – if we stop following the rules or reduce these measures, we will waste our efforts."

Conte added: "The only news introduced is about athletes' training sessions … training sessions are not allowed in clubs' headquarters.

"It doesn't mean athletes cannot train themselves, they can do it individually."

More than 13,100 people have died from coronavirus in Italy, with the global death toll exceeding 46,000.

Paulo Dybala has revealed the troubling reality of life with coronavirus and insists staying at home is the best way to steer clear of the pandemic.

The Juventus forward was one of the first notable footballers to confirm he had tested positive for COVID-19, though Dybala is optimistic he has shaken off the illness.

He and girlfriend Oriana Sabatini have been in self-isolation, and Dybala said both would be re-tested to check if they were now clear.

The 26-year-old said he would rather experts give advice on how to handle the virus but added: "I always try to give a message of what happened to me, that people take it seriously and that they stay at home."

Dybala also revealed how Juventus doctors have been in daily contact.

"All the people here have been very good to us and there are many cases here. I always tell them I'm fine and to try to see the people who really need it," he said.

Italy has been hit hard by the global health crisis, and Dybala is acutely aware there are many having a worse experience with coronavirus than he and his girlfriend.

"Well, luckily [we are] much better, these days we do not have any symptoms," he said.

"I had stronger symptoms, I got tired very quickly, when I wanted to train, I was short of breath after five minutes. There we noticed that something was not right and through the tests the club did we were told that we were positive.

"From there we had more symptoms, such as cough, tired body and when we slept I felt very cold, but from the club they had told us that we were going to be fine so we had to be calm."

Dybala said the first concern that you may have coronavirus is particularly difficult.

"It is a bit psychological, because you feel something and you are already afraid," he said. "I tried to think that it might not be that."

The couple are trying to make those in Argentina aware of the tough times they may face.

Dybala did also inject a little levity into his interview, which he gave to the Argentina Football Association's AFA Play service.

"Oriana and I will need to do the test again to know if is gone or not. And we will know the truth," he said. "I always joke, thinking that it was me who transmitted the virus to her since some of my team-mates of Juventus had it. I am sure it was me."

Neymar, Lautaro Martinez or both? Barcelona may have a decision to make this close season.

Neymar has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, while the LaLiga giants are also reportedly interested in Inter star Martinez.

Barcelona could be forced to choose between the two in the next transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR, MARTINEZ OR BOTH? BARCELONA'S BIG DECISION

Barcelona want both Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Inter's Martinez but know it will be difficult to land the duo, according to Sport.

It reports landing Martinez is shaping to be easier as Inter are willing to accept players as part of a deal.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter this season, while Neymar has netted 18 times in 22 appearances for PSG.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could be turning to an old target. ESPN reports the Premier League club are prepared to make a bid for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt if the Serie A giants are open to a sale this close season.

- Harry Kane's future at Tottenham seemingly remains unclear. But The Daily Mail says Spurs are confident of keeping the forward, who said on Monday he would not stay at the club just "for the sake of it".

- It looks like Jadon Sancho to Liverpool will not be happening. The Mirror claims the Premier League leaders are not targeting the Borussia Dortmund star, leaving United and Chelsea as the English clubs still in the chase.

- Where will Philippe Coutinho end up next season? Sport reports Leicester City are interested in a loan deal for the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona. Staying at Camp Nou and Sport says Barcelona are considering a move for Layvin Kurzawa, who is out of contract at PSG at season's end, as a back-up to Jordi Alba.

- Edinson Cavani is also out of contract at the end of the season at PSG, but CalcioMercato reports the Uruguayan striker will not be joining Atletico Madrid, the club he has been linked to.

- With Alexis Sanchez set to return to Manchester United from his loan spell at Inter, The Sun reports the club will be forced to pay the attacker a £1.1million loyalty payment.

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