Roma and Milan have banned Corriere dello Sport from their training grounds and told players not to speak to the newspaper for the rest of the year.

On Thursday, the Italian sports daily published the headline 'Black Friday' – accompanied by pictures of Roma's Chris Smalling and Inter's Romelu Lukaku – ahead of the Serie A clash between the two sides.

The headline was widely criticised as being racial insensitive, with Smalling and Lukaku both expressing disappointment.

However, Corriere dello Sport's editor described the headline as "innocent" and insisted the words reflected "the pride of difference, the wonderful wealth of difference", adding: "If you don't get it, it is because you can't or you don't want to."

The clubs announced their sanctions against the newspaper in a joint statement.

It read: "We believe that players, clubs, supporters and the media must be united in the fight against racism in football and we all have a responsibility to be very precise in the words we choose and the messages we deliver.

"In response to the 'Black Friday' headline published by the newspaper, Roma and Milan have decided to ban Corriere dello Sport from our training facilities for the rest of the year and our players will not carry out any media activities with the newspaper during this period.

"Both clubs are aware that the actual newspaper article associated with the headline did portray an anti-racist message and for this reason, we have only banned Corriere dello Sport until January. We remain totally committed to tackling racism."

Inter have stated "we are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination" amid an Italian newspaper sparking a racism storm with a controversial front-page headline.

Corriere dello Sport previewed the upcoming Serie A game between Inter and Roma with a front-page "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, a choice of wording that has attracted widespread criticism.

"Black Friday", a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.

Roma quickly criticised an editorial decision they suggest "not a single soul" would find appropriate, and rival Serie A clubs, including Inter, subsequently reacted.

Corriere issued a statement insisting the headline was not racist, claiming it had been "transformed into poison by those who have poison in themselves".

Inter posted to their official Twitter page: "Football is passion, culture and brotherhood. We are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination."

Anti-discrimination body FARE posted a screenshot of Corriere's front page with the caption: "The media fuels racism every day."

Milan and Fiorentina joined Roma and Inter in commenting on the headline.

"It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism," Milan said. "We will not stay silent on this issue."

Fiorentina shared the image with a facepalm emoji and a single word: "Speechless."

A series of incidents have blighted Italian football this season, with Lukaku, Mario Balotelli and Franck Kessie each targeted for racist abuse.

All 20 Serie A clubs last week united to call on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting to a "serious problem".

Paul Pogba remains on the sidelines but his club future is at the centre of the rumour mill.

According to a new report, Zinedine Zidane wants the Manchester United midfielder "at all costs".

Links between Pogba and Real Madrid have long been established, but it seems not all in the Spanish capital are keen on the move.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE WANTS TO POACH POGBA

Zidane views compatriot Pogba as "the final piece of the puzzle" for Madrid and has implored the club to secure his signature, reports Marca.

The Los Blancos boss reportedly made Pogba's arrival his only demand when he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in March for a second stint as head coach.

However, Madrid executives are said to be sceptical about splashing at least €120million for a player who would potentially take a first-team spot from the improving Federico Valverde.

Zidane and Pogba had a "chance" encounter in Dubai in October, where the 26-year-old was undergoing warm-weather rehabilitation on his injured ankle.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have been impressed with Mauro Icardi and will look to tie the on-loan striker to a permanent deal, claims CalcioMercato. The Ligue 1 champions can reportedly land the Inter outcast for €70m.

- Arsenal, West Ham and any other Premier League teams aiming to appoint Rafael Benitez would have to pay £20m to release him from his Dalian Yifang contract, says the Daily Mail.

- Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo could pull the plug on a bid for Gabriel Barbosa after growing frustrated with the forward's reluctance to finalise the arrangement, according to Fox Sports Brazil. 'Gabigol' is on loan from Inter and reportedly coverts a second chance in Europe.

- CalcioMercato reports Milan are plotting to sign PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Jose Mourinho's Tottenham hope to capture Norwich City centre-back Ben Godfrey in January for around £25m, reports Football Insider.

Real Madrid have made Fabian Ruiz their top transfer target.

According to reports, "negotiations have accelerated" as the Spanish heavyweights aim to take advantage of the disarray at Napoli.

But the midfielder also has high-profile admirers in England and France.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEP UP FABIAN INTEREST

Napoli midfielder Fabian is a man in demand.

Madrid appear to be in pole position, with Cadena SER claiming the Spanish giants are "very serious" about taking the 23-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Negotiations over a contract extension at Napoli are said to have stopped and the Spain international is reportedly warm to the idea of joining up with Zinedine Zidane's side.

However, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could look to force a three-way bidding war for the Spain international, who has previously been linked to Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Ex-Valencia head coach Marcelino has emerged as a left-field managerial candidate for Arsenal and Everton, according to the Daily Mail. The 54-year-old lost his job at the Mestalla in September following a reported falling out with owner Peter Lim.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears he will be sacked if Manchester United lose their next two games against Tottenham and bitter rivals City, says The Sun.

- Former Premier League striker-turned-reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft claims Liverpool are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho – but the winger will cost the Premier League leaders €130million.

- Chelsea have offered little-used striker Olivier Giroud to Serie A sides Milan and Inter, according to CalcioMercato.

Barcelona are keeping tabs on 16-year-old PSG midfielder Edouard Michut, reports Le Parisien.

Milan may have secured a late victory over Parma on Sunday, but head coach Stefano Pioli admitted their problems have not been totally resolved yet.

Left-back Theo Hernandez struck two minutes from time in Sunday's clash at Stadio Ennio Tardini to end the Rossoneri's three-match winless run in Serie A.

Milan, 11th in the table, have won only two of their seven matches since Pioli replaced Marco Giampaolo last month, and the ex-Fiorentina boss acknowledged there is still work to do.

"The team was aware of the importance of this match," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We have had some good performances without having collected anything.

"We knew what we had to do today and we deservedly won against a strong and organised Parma side.

"The victory does not fix all of our problems. From here until Christmas I want to collect as many points as possible. 

"There is still a lot to do, but I am satisfied with today's performance."

Krzysztof Piatek missed a good chance at 0-0 and was replaced just after the hour mark, but Pioli has called on others to help the out-of-form striker.

"He is not smiling, but that is to be expected as we are professionals," he said. "It is clear that we need to support him.

"This group of players wants to get us out of trouble and they are all very motivated. Those that started did very well and now we think about Bologna."

A lack of goals has proved costly for Milan in recent weeks and they struggled to put away their chances against Parma before Hernandez's late strike.

Pioli is working to find a solution in attack and is hopeful his players will take confidence from a first win since the end of October.

"We are starting to work more as a team, with more cohesion and compactness," he added at his post-match news conference. 

"We have to work to grow and improve. If the victory had not arrived there would have been questions, but we have to continue concentrating.

"The goal now is to think about the next match and maintain our level of performance. Today's three points against a strong opponent gives us confidence."

Parma conceded a 95th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Bologna last week, though they remain a point clear of Milan and head coach Roberto D'Aversa was quick to put Sunday's defeat into context.

"They may be behind us in the table but they're a team that were expected to finish in a Champions League spot at the beginning of the season," he told reporters.

"We must give credit to the opposition. We have to consider the fact we played against Milan.

"In the last few minutes today, and the last seconds against Bologna, we have thrown away some points. That must not happen because points are important if we are to reach our goal."

Theo Hernandez scored two minutes from time to earn Milan a 1-0 victory at Parma and end their three-match winless run in Serie A.

A lack of goals has cost the Rossoneri in recent weeks and their profligacy again looked as though it would haunt them in Sunday's clash.

But Theo poked home a late winner following some calamitous defending from Parma to earn a vital triumph for Stefano Pioli's men.

The victory for Milan – just their second in seven matches under Pioli – lifts them into 11th place, one point behind opponents Parma.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still evaluating his future and is not in negotiations with Milan over a January transfer, according to the Serie A club's director Frederic Massara.

The 38-year-old has been linked with a return the Rossoneri, where he spent two seasons between 2010 and 2012, after leaving Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.

MLS commissioner Don Garber last month suggested Ibrahimovic is set to rejoin the Milan, but Massara insists talks between the club and the player are not ongoing.

"There is no news on Ibrahimovic, because this is not a negotiation," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"He is evaluating his future. He is on the market, but there are no developments."

Ibrahimovic spent 18 months with the Galaxy and was named in the MLS Best XI in 2018 and 2019 after scoring a combined 53 goals.

Fiorentina, Napoli and Bologna are among the other Italian sides to have been credited with an interest in the ex-Sweden international.

Jadon Sancho looks set to leave Borussia Dortmund sooner rather than later.

Sancho has established himself as one of the best young players in Europe since leaving Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017.

However, the 19-year-old's stay in Germany appears to be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND READY TO PART WITH SANCHO

Dortmund are ready to do business and sell in-demand star Sancho, according to the Independent.

The teenager is wanted by Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona after starring since arriving in the Bundesliga.

But Dortmund are willing to let the England international leave as soon as January due to a breakdown in relationships.

The winger was benched for the midweek Champions League defeat at Barcelona, having felt humiliated by his first-half withdrawal in the Klassiker rout to Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Nazione says Premier League leaders and Champions League holders Liverpool are interested in Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa. The 22-year-old has sparkled in Florence, leading to links with Serie A champions Juventus and Inter.

- Could Everton be set for a South American triple swoop? According to the Liverpool Echo, the Merseyside club are keen on signing Inter forward Gabriel Barbosa – on loan at Flamengo – and River Plate's Rafael Santos Borre. It comes as the Toffees have reportedly identified Flamengo head coach Jorge Jesus as a possible candidate to succeed Marco Silva following his Copa Libertadores and domestic success.

- Marca claims James Rodriguez has turned down a move to Arsenal. According to reports in England, the Gunners want James in January. However, the Madrid playmaker wants to stay in the Spanish capital.

- High-flying Inter are eager to sign Atalanta full-back Robin Gosens, reports Calciomercato.

Milan are targeting Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The Turkey international has struggled for game time following his arrival in Turin this season.

- As Flamengo struggle to secure a permanent deal for loan star Barbosa, Goal says the Copa Libertadores champions are in talks to sign Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.

Manchester City have set their sights on Brescia and Italy sensation Sandro Tonali, says Fichajes. The 19-year-old is attracting interest from all over Europe.

Kai Havertz is reportedly wanted by seven of Europe's biggest clubs.

The Germany and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has impressed in the Bundesliga, sparking interest from numerous clubs.

Havertz, 20, is contracted at Leverkusen until 2022, but that does not seem to be stopping Europe's best and biggest.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, MADRID AMONG SEVEN CLUBS WHO WANT HAVERTZ

LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of seven clubs who want Kai Havertz, according to Sport Bild.

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the other clubs interested in Havertz.

Havertz made his senior debut at Leverkusen in 2016 and has already amassed 121 appearances for the club.

ROUND-UP

- Talks between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Milan are continuing. Sport Mediaset reports the striker wants €3million net until June, while Milan are offering €2m, with Ibrahimovic hoping to arrive at his next club by mid-December.

- Arsenal have started looking at potential replacements for under-fire head coach Unai Emery, according to The Daily Telegraph. Emery is under pressure after a run of six games without a win at Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo are reported candidates.

- Edinson Cavani is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and the Uruguayan could be set for an MLS move. Cavani's representatives met with LA Galaxy last week regarding a potential switch, according to Le10Sport.

- Arsenal and Lyon are interested in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Tuttomercatoweb. The 26-year-old France international has made just three LaLiga appearances this season after dealing with injuries.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen is keen to discuss a new deal with Tottenham, according to Sky Sports News. The centre-back is reportedly a target for Roma and Bayer Leverkusen.

- Inter Miami are still eyeing their first coach ahead of their inaugural MLS season in 2020. The Telegraph reports David Beckham is lining up Nice boss Patrick Vieira.

The battle for Jadon Sancho's signature looks set to begin.

Four high-profile clubs in England and Spain are reportedly monitoring the teenager, one of Europe's brightest prospects.

Aggrieved with recent events at Borussia Dortmund, Sancho could now seek a new home for next season.

 

TOP STORY – CLUBS QUEUE UP FOR 'SCAPEGOAT' SANCHO

Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are the "leading quartet" of suitors for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Athletic.

Former club Manchester City have also asked to be "kept informed" following a string of events that have upset the 19-year-old England winger, notably his first-half substitution in the 4-0 Klassiker loss to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Sancho's representatives are said to have deemed that move "disgraceful", paving the way for his Dortmund departure at the end of the Bundesliga season.

 

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba's prolonged absence for Manchester United is part of a concerted effort to force through a January transfer to LaLiga giants Madrid, claims Spanish journalist Paco Gonzalez. Pogba, not sighted since September, is recovering from an ankle injury.

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is weighing up a move to AC Milan. The 38-year-old is available on a free transfer after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy. Ibrahimovic has been linked to Bologna, Tottenham, Napoli and Perth Glory.

West Ham are considering replacing Manuel Pellegrini with Chris Wilder, reports The Mirror. The Hammers are languishing 16th in the Premier League after 13 games, while Wilder's Sheffield United are riding high in sixth. Chris HughtonDavid Moyes and Rafael Benitez are reportedly among the other candidates should West Ham lose patience with Pellegrini.

- Wolves defender Owen Otasowie is wanted by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Bundesliga team Schalke, reports The Sun. 18-year-old centre-back has also been watched by Liverpool and Arsenal.

- The Mirror reports Aston Villa are leading the race to sign Rhian Brewster on loan in January. Brewster, 19, has been unable to break his way into Liverpool's Premier League plans this term. The report states Villa face competition from Crystal PalaceLeeds United and Swansea City.

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli said he felt "confident for the future" after his side battled to a 1-1 draw with Napoli at San Siro.

Giacomo Bonaventura scored his first goal in more than a year to cancel out Hirving Lozano's opener and earn Milan a point in Saturday's Serie A clash.

The Rossoneri have won just one of six matches since Pioli replaced Marco Giampaolo last month, but the ex-Fiorentina boss was pleased with his team's latest display.

"We played a good game, despite the absentees and other difficulties," he said at his post-match news conference.

"I am seeing great determination and awareness and I'm confident for the future, but there is still a long way to go.

"I have only been working here for 45 days. You cannot say that the team does not fight.

"We all feel the sense of urgency to win games and we have the possibility to do that in our next matches, though it will not be easy."

Milan have collected just 14 points from their opening 13 matches and are down in 13th, 10 points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to be linked with a return to the club he represented between 2010 and 2012, but Pioli reiterated that he is not looking ahead to the transfer window.

"In January we will see," he said. "Tomorrow we go back to work because from here until then there are 12 more points available."

A major positive for Pioli was the performance of Bonaventura, who marked his second Serie A start of the season with a first goal since October 2018, driving home a fine 20-yard strike.

"He is not only strong but also very intelligent," Pioli said. "He knows where to move and when to do it. 'Jack' played for 90 minutes and did very well."

Next up for Milan are back-to-back away trips to Parma and Bologna, with left-back Theo Hernandez hoping to build some momentum from those matches.

"This was a very important point for us," Hernandez told Sky Sport Italia. "We knew it would be complicated against a good opponent, but now we have to win games.

"Milan cannot stay where we are in the table. We have to concentrate on the matches ahead and take it one step at a time to improve game by game."

Giacomo Bonaventura scored his first goal in more than a year as AC Milan drew 1-1 with fellow out-of-form side Napoli at San Siro.

Milan had lost back-to-back matches against Lazio and Juventus heading into Saturday's clash and fell behind to Hirving Lozano's close-range finish after 24 minutes.

Italy international Bonaventura, making his second start of the season, instantly hit back for Stefano Pioli's side with a goal he celebrated wildly.

Good chances went begging for Lorenzo Insigne and Ante Rebic to win the match for their respective sides, leaving Milan 13th in the table and six points behind Napoli in seventh.

Napoli soaked up plenty of early pressure and took the lead through Lozano, who reacted quickest to head in after Insigne's long-range strike hit the crossbar.

But Milan's response was swift and emphatic as Bonaventura fired a 20-yard shot past Alex Meret just five minutes later for his first league goal since October 2018.

Insigne failed to find a way past Gianluigi Donnarumma from a one-on-one at the end of the first half, shortly after Rebic headed wide from five yards out at the other end.

Visiting midfielder Eljif Elmas went to ground inside the opposition box with 20 minutes to play but was rightly shown a yellow card for diving.

Allan twice tested Donnarumma in the final five minutes, the second effort a half-volley from outside the box that the Milan keeper parried to ensure the points were shared.


What does it mean? Both teams in need of a lift

Napoli are now winless in six matches in all competitions for the first time since March 2013, with the pressure steadily building on boss Carlo Ancelotti, though their troubles pale in comparison to those of Milan, who are enduring a dismal campaign and have won just one of their six matches under Pioli.

Donnarumma stands firm

Milan have kept only one clean sheet in their last 10 league matches, but Donnarumma showed his quality with the save made to deny Insigne just before the interval.

The 20-year-old raced off his line to close the angle and blocked Insigne's low shot with his legs, helping his side to claim a point from a tight match.

Rebic unable to take his chance

Rebic, a late inclusion in Milan's starting line-up after Suso pulled out during the warm-up with a stomach bug, was unable to capitalise on his first Serie A start of the season.

He was jeered after a poor touch early on, headed wide from a good position with the match delicately poised and was replaced by Franck Kessie at half-time.

What's next?

Napoli can book a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with victory away at Liverpool on Wednesday.

Ancelotti's side return to Serie A action with a home match against Bologna next Sunday, the same day that Milan travel to Parma.

Barcelona are preparing for next season and they have several players on their wish list.

The LaLiga leaders are enjoying a decent campaign in 2019-20, but they already have one eye on 2020-2021.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic are reportedly their main targets.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET MARTINEZ, KIMMICH AND MILENKOVIC

Martinez, Kimmich and Milenkovic are Barcelona's main targets ahead of 2020-21, according to AS.

If they miss out on Kimmich, they will look to RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann, the report says.

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is another option, while Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a target if they cannot land Martinez.

ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino could be set for a quick return to management. Bayern Munich want to hold talks with the former Tottenham manager, according to The Telegraph.

- Could the impact of Jose Mourinho be felt at Tottenham already? Toby Alderweireld, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could stay at Spurs after Mourinho's arrival, The Telegraph also reports.

- Roma could extend Lorenzo Pellegrini's contract, but several clubs are interested in the midfielder. Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have shown some interest in Pellegrini, according to CalcioMercato.

- Marko Pjaca has failed to have an impact since his arrival at Juventus in 2016. CalcioMercato reports the Croatian attacker, who has already been on loan at Schalke and Fiorentina since his arrival in Turin, could be set for another spell away from Juve in January.

- Chelsea have a target in January if their transfer ban is overturned. The Premier League giants have been monitoring CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, according to Sky Sports. The 21-year-old scored 15 Russian Premier League goals last season and has five in 16 games in 2019-20.

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.

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."

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