Barcelona remain determined to strengthen their squad despite financial constraints and could be ready to move for Adama Traore.

It appears the Wolves winger may be sold this month as Bruno Lage's men have already secured a potential replacement.

Any Barca deal would be complicated by interest from Tottenham, however – assuming they are prepared to match Wolves' demands.


TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM, BARCELONA ON ALERT AS WOLVES READY TO SELL TRAORE

Adama Traore could leave Wolves in January, and Barcelona and Tottenham are both interested in the winger, according to the Daily Star.

Wolves have previously insisted they want to keep the Spain international, but Monday's signing of Portugal Under-21s international Chiquinho could open the door for Traore's exit.

Spurs are keen but their proposed loan until the end of the season is not something Bruno Lage's side are prepared to accept, as they are holding out for a £25million sale.

Barca have been linked with the 25-year-old but they must be careful of their spending due to their financial problems.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona are determined to bring in a striker this month and Alvaro Morata remains the top target, according to Marca. However, negotiations with Juventus have proved difficult.

– It appears Dusan Vlahovic may not be leaving Fiorentina yet after all. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Arsenal and Juventus target will be kept until the end of the season.

Manchester United have turned their attention to signing John McGinn from Aston Villa, but not until the close-season, the Telegraph says.

– Meanwhile, United striker Anthony Martial does not want to join another English club, leaving BarcaJuventus and Sevilla as his main options, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Newcastle United's bid to sign a new centre-back took a blow as Monaco rejected their £33.4m (€40m) bid for Benoit Badiashile, L'Equipe claims.

– A striker is also on Newcastle's shopping list and they have launched a £25m (€30m) offer for Atalanta's Duvan Zapata, the Daily Record says.

Inter's run of eight straight Serie A wins came to an end on Sunday as the reigning champions were held to a 0-0 draw by Atalanta.

Simone Inzaghi's side won the Supercoppa Italiana in midweek with almost the last kick of the game, but there was no such drama at the Gewiss Stadium as the visitors missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Edin Dzeko was guilty of a glaring miss in the second half, with Inter failing to score in a league game for the first time this season. 

The result means Inter remain top – two points clear of bitter rivals Milan – while Atalanta stay fourth, one point ahead of Juventus.

Inter dominated possession in the early stages, but did not threaten the Atalanta goal until the 26th minute when Juan Musso superbly pawed away Alexis Sanchez's powerful strike.

Atalanta had to wait until the 39th minute for their first effort on target, Matteo Pessina's header comfortably kept out by Samir Handanovic.

The Inter goalkeeper denied Pessina again soon after the interval, racing off his line to thwart the forward after an incisive move from the hosts. 

Dzeko's attempt was repelled by Musso at the other end and the 35-year-old inexplicably headed over from four yards with 20 minutes remaining. 

Handanovic superbly denied Luis Muriel in the 80th minute after Alessandro Bastoni had been caught out, while Danilo D'Ambrosio squandered the opportunity to seal all three points for the visitors late on when he fired into the side netting with only Musso to beat

Jose Mourinho feels ready for a big celebration and wants Roma to give him an excuse – but he is still not sure what will qualify as success this season.

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter and Manchester United boss has taken on a tough assignment in the Italian capital, as he bids to turn Roma into a team that can compete for trophies.

They are some way off being competitive in terms of the Serie A title race, just like Tottenham in his previous job were unable to mount a sustained Premier League challenge.

Mourinho was reminded on Friday of how he and his Tottenham coaching staff showed euphoria when qualification was secured for the second-tier Europa League in July 2020, prompting the question of whether he would celebrate in the same manner should Roma reach their objectives.

"There are teams that celebrate when they avoid relegation. That's the target they have," Mourinho said. "When people talk about coaches with lots of trophies, what about those who have not won many?

"It's about the targets they have. If Thiago Motta keeps Spezia up, or Andriy Shevchenko keeps Genoa up, or Salernitana stay up… then those coaches can and should celebrate the achievement. As for your question, if you are asking me if I am ready to celebrate if we win then obviously my answer is yes.

"This season we don't have a specific target in mind, beyond what the league table says because that is a more 'measurable' yardstick of progress."

Mourinho is 17 Serie A games into his Roma reign, and true to form it has been an up-and-down journey to this point. On Saturday, Roma will tackle an Atalanta side who are much further down the road with their project.

Although Mourinho is adamant his team can win in Bergamo and continue to progress, he makes no bones about his belief that expectations of Roma this season should be put into some perspective.

He also does not hide a certain envy that his touchline rival this weekend, Gian Piero Gasperini, has had almost six years to create his squad just as he wants it, with Atalanta third in Serie A and genuine title contenders.

"There's a fundamental difference between us and Atalanta," Mourinho said in a news conference on Friday. "I've been here six months, whereas Gian Piero has been there six years. Six months, six years. And that difference is not just in the number of training sessions they've had together, but in the sharing of ideas and the identification of processes. They've had 12 transfer windows together whereas we've just had one.

"Atalanta are an amazing club, a very stable one, with a great level of collaboration between the club and Gasperini. When I was first here in Italy, they didn't have the same ambitions. But 10 years on they are now a Champions League side who are competing to win the title."

Atalanta are unbeaten in their past seven Serie A games against Roma (W4 D3), their longest streak without defeat against the capital club in league competition. 

Roma will have to overcome another aspect of their recent history if they are to come away with three points, having not won any of their previous 12 Serie A games against sides that started the matchday inside the top five (D6 L6).

They are under-performing on the expected goals (xG) front this season, with only Salernitana and Juventus having a worse differential between goals scored and xG than Roma.

Yet Mourinho's men have returned to winning ways since a stinging 3-0 defeat at Inter's hands left the Portuguese coach bitterly frustrated and facing criticism, with victories over CSKA Sofia and Spezia helping to lift the gloom.

They sit sixth heading into the weekend, with the halfway point in Mourinho's first season back in Italy almost reached.

If Roma are to succeed under his guidance, it is likely to be a slow process, and for Mourinho, previously regarded as a quick-fix boss, that may take some getting used to.

The 58-year-old has expressed frustration at the depth within his current squad, but he admires how Atalanta have built from humble foundations, and that may be a model to which Roma closely adhere.

"Theirs is definitely one that I admire, that I really like," Mourinho said, quoted on Roma's website.

"You know that I have spent many years at very different clubs. Clubs that are aggressive in the transfer market and spend a lot, because they are trying to compete right now and not just in the future.

"So, I have a lot of admiration for projects like that. That's their approach. And it has been six years. They have been smart in the market and built a really strong side while remaining economically stable. As I have already said, it's not just respect but admiration that I have for their project."

Roma have lost 12 away Serie A games in 2021 (W5 D3), including five losses out of eight under Mourinho. Only in two calendar years have they registered more defeats on the road in the top flight (16 in both 1949 and 1950).

By contrast, Atalanta have won 28 matches in 2021, at least seven more than they have managed in any other calendar year in Serie A.

Paul Pogba's club future continues to be a major topic of speculation.

The 28-year-old is into the final year of his Manchester United contract.

Pogba has flirted with the idea of an extension but has been stalling on a decision.

 

TOP STORY – REAL AND PSG HOME IN ON POGBA

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are both ready to ramp up the race to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, claims Marca.

Pogba is running down his United contract, meaning he will be a free agent in mid-2022.

Real and PSG will rekindle their interest after new United interim manager Ralf Rangnick said Pogba should not need to be convinced to stay.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani has offered his services to Juventus, according to Calciomercato. The Uruguayan veteran has also been linked with Barcelona.

- Barcelona are plotting moves for Chelsea's trio Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Antonio Rudiger, reports Mundo Deportivo.

- Milan are circling to sign Liverpool's super-sub Divock Origi as they seek a long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claims Tuttomercato. Atalanta are also interested.

- Calciomercato reports that Roma are considering a move for Spezia midfielder Jiulio Maggiore. The 23-year-old is out of contract in 2023 and valued at €8m (£6.8m).

- Roma are also interested in a move for Norwich City's Max Aarons, according to Corriere dello Sport. Tottenham and Everton are also in the race.

- Lyon are interested in a move for Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma, claims Todofichajes. Manchester United and Barcelona are also tracking the ex-Bournemouth winger.

Duvan Zapata insists that he and his Atalanta team-mates "gave everything" in their 3-2 Champions League defeat against Villarreal on Thursday.

Atalanta required a win in order to leapfrog their opponents into second place in their final group-stage game, which had been rescheduled after heavy snowfall on Wednesday.

However, Arnaut Danjuma scored either side of Etienne Capoue to give Villarreal a 3-0 lead by the 51st minute, and Atalanta were unable to come back despite goals from Ruslan Malinovskyi and Zapata.

The Atalanta striker revealed that, despite the team's regret at failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, they remain "calm".

"We are disappointed," Zapata said to Prime Video. "However, we are calm in the sense that we gave everything on the pitch.

"We are very sorry because we wanted to go through and be among the strongest 16. That's how the game went, we need to think about the [league] because it is thanks to the [league] that we are here.

"We were in trouble in the first half also because they took the lead quickly. Then we tried to attack and draw quickly. I think we played against anxiety, they are a good team who played a great match. 

"There is regret for every situation that could have been done better. We gave everything. We are very sorry, but I feel the group [is] calm because we have tried in every way possible to equalise."

Atalanta defender Rafael Toloi echoed his team-mate's sentiments, apologising to the club's fans for not winning the game but looking ahead to the rest of the season with optimism.

"Sorry we didn't win, but I think we gave a good response in the second half," Toloi told Prime Video. "We created beautiful situations. Sorry we didn't win, now we have to continue in the league and watch the Europa League draws.

"We tried to play the game. We conceded a goal at the beginning [due to] a mistake and then they have quality players. We played a great game. Sorry for the result, [but our heads are] held high and we still have a whole season to go."

Atalanta now drop into the knockout play-off round of the Europa League, where they will be drawn against a side that finished second in their group.

Atalanta's quest to reach the Champions League knockout phase has been rescheduled after Wednesday's showdown against Villarreal was postponed due to heavy snowfall.

The crucial Group F fixture on the sixth and final matchday was initially delayed in Bergamo, where snow forced kick-off to be altered by 20 minutes.

But as the snow continued to fall at Gewiss Stadium, the contest was eventually called off, despite the best efforts of ground staff.

Now, Atalanta and Villarreal will go head-to-head on Thursday, with the hosts guaranteed at least third position following the 1-1 draw between group winners Manchester United and Young Boys midweek.

Atalanta can progress to the last 16 if they beat second-placed Villarreal.

"The referee [Anthony Taylor] tried to get us to play, he wanted to see how the weather developed and we cleared the turf, but the snow continued to come down," Atalanta director Umberto Marino told Sky Sport Italia and Mediaset Infinity.

"The official was intelligent, involved the two coaches in the decision. The players had to be protected from potential danger, the referee spoke to the players and coaches, everyone agreed with the decision. In these conditions, there was no alternative."

The rescheduled contest will take place at 19:00 local time after UEFA reportedly planned for the game to kick-off at 16:30.

"UEFA make the decision in Nyon, we made our request and that is to play it in the evening," Marino added.

Atalanta are third in Group F, a point behind reigning Europa League champions Villarreal.

Among teams who have played 20 or more Champions League games, Atalanta have highest goals per game ratio of any side in the competition's history (3.5 – 78 in 22 games).

Barcelona head to Bayern Munich on the final matchday desperately needing a positive result to secure their spot in the Champions League knockout stages.

Benfica, who face Dynamo Kiev in Group E's other clash, hold the head-to-head edge over Xavi's new side as Barca travel to Germany knowing they likely need a win to make it through to the next round.

Manchester United and Chelsea are already through their respective groups, while Juventus host Malmo with the Bianconeri's place in the last-16 sealed before the final matchday as well.

As Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo edge towards more records, Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data heading into the games taking place on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich v Barcelona: Blaugrana face thankless task to qualify

Bayern have won their last three Champions League meetings with Barca, which is already the longest run against the Blaugrana in European history by any side.

Julian Nagelsmann's team, who have averaged five goals per home game in this season's competition, have cruised through to the next round, while Barca could fall to their second-worst performance in terms of points if they fail to avoid defeat.

The visitors will have to deal with Lewandowski, who is the top scorer in the group stage with nine goals and the Poland forward could become the only player in history to net 10-plus times in the group stage on multiple occasions. Ronaldo (11 in 2015-16) and Lionel Messi (10 in 2016-17) are the only other players to have achieved this once.

Zenit v Chelsea: Blues edge towards more defensive milestones

Chelsea could become just the second English team, after Manchester United in 2003-04 and 2010-11 to win four consecutive games in the competition while keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.

Indeed, with a clean sheet the Blues and Thomas Tuchel could become the fastest team and manager combination to reach 10 shutouts in the competition, having already recorded nine in just 12 games since the German's appointment.

The defending champions have also had 14 different scorers, excluding own goals, the most of any team in the Champions League since Tuchel's Blues bow in Europe.

Manchester United v Young Boys: Ronaldo looks to repeat history

Ronaldo has scored in all five of his Champions League appearances since returning to United (six goals), while Bruno Fernandes boasts the most assists in the competition so far this term (five).

Portugal captain Ronaldo will be looking to repeat the feat of scoring in all six group stage games in a single campaign, having previously done so for Real Madrid in 2017-18 – the only previous instance of this in the competition’s history.

Worryingly for Young Boys, who never kept a clean sheet in 11 attempts in the competition, the Swiss side have lost their last six away games between 1986 and 2021, last tasting European Cup/Champions League victory in August 1960.

Juventus v Malmo: Bianconeri aim to match record home dominance

Juve have won each of their last five Champions League home matches, only registering more consecutive such victories in a run of six between December 2016 and 2017.

While the Bianconeri did suffer their heaviest defeat in the history of the competition against Chelsea, Juve have a perfect record against Malmo in their opening three games – only Barca have ever won their opening four games against a specific opponent in the competitions.

Meanwhile, Malmo have only managed one win in their last eight against Italian opponents in the European Cup/Champions League, with their lone triumph against Inter in September 1989.

 

Other fixtures:

Atalanta v Villarreal:

21 - There have been 21 goals scored in Atalanta’s five games against Spanish opponents in the Champions League (11 goals for, 10 against), at an average of 4.2 per game. Only one of these five games have seen a team manage to keep a clean sheet, with Real Madrid doing so in a 1-0 victory back in February.

1 - Villarreal have won just one of their eight visits to Italian opponents in major European competition (D3 L4), though it came in their most recent such outing, defeating Roma 1-0 in the Europa League in 2016-17.

Benfica v Dynamo Kiev:

4 - Since losing their first ever meeting with Dynamo Kiev in European competition (0-1 in November 1991), Benfica are unbeaten in four games against the Ukrainian side (W3 D1), with all four coming in the European Cup/Champions League.

60 – Dynamo Kiev have lost 60 per cent of their away matches in the competition, only Olympiakos (75) and Galatasaray (71) have lost a larger percentage out of teams to have played at least 50 such games.

Red Bull Salzburg v Sevilla:

5 – Red Bull Salzburg are winless in their last five fixtures against Spanish opposition in the Champions League and have only won one of their last 11 meetings against such sides.

3 – Sevilla's Ivan Rakitic has managed three goal involvements in his side's five goals in the competition, despite only starting two games – only for Barca in 2015-16 did he record more (four).

Wolfsburg v Lille:

5 - Wolfsburg have gone unbeaten in their last five games against French opponents in European competition (W2 D3) after previously going eight games without recording a victory against French teams across all competitions (D3 L5).

8 – Lille have claimed eight points from their opening five games and could equal, or improve on, their best ever return in a group stage in the competition - nine points in 2006-07, where they qualified with a second-place finish.

Massimiliano Allegri has reiterated his belief that Juventus cannot be expected to challenge for the Serie A title this season, insisting a sense of realism is required.

On the back of a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Chelsea in the Champions League, Juve slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta in Serie A on Saturday.

Paulo Dybala hit the crossbar late on, but Duvan Zapata's strike proved decisive for Atalanta, who won a league game at Juve for the first time since October 1989.

The defeat leaves Juve eighth, and they could be 14 points adrift of leaders Napoli and second-placed Milan by the time the weekend is up.

It marked a third home loss of the campaign for Juve, matching the total number of defeats at the Allianz Stadium across the entirety of 2020-21.

Juve are also seven points off the top four, and Allegri – perhaps risking the ire of the Bianconeri faithful – has claimed a Champions League qualification push is the best the 36-time champions can hope for.

Allegri told DAZN: "I think it's a very good squad, [although] there are moments when we struggle to score goals.

"But people said at the start that this was the strongest squad that simply had to win the Scudetto, and I always noted that was inaccurate.

"We are here to challenge for the top four. I cannot complain to my players after this performance; I can only congratulate their efforts, then the rest is down to those of you who talk for a living.

 

"I think we must be realistic. If we are in this position after 14 games, it means this is what we are worth right now. There's a long way to go, but in terms of performance, I only saw us get it really wrong against Verona, Sassuolo and Empoli.

"Once we are realistic, we can take the pressure off and work better in a calmer environment. All we can do is try to get the best out of ourselves.

"We are Juventus and people seem to think that means we must automatically be Scudetto favourites. What we need to do is keep working, try to calm down and score some more goals. At this moment, we are struggling to score and, in my view, it's because we have lost that sense of calm and confidence.

"There's no point thinking of ifs and buts. We have to start from scratch, put everything behind us and be prepared to fight it out on level terms with Salernitana [on Tuesday], then add our quality on top."

Juve had 15 attempts against Atalanta, but only two hit the target. Besides Dybala's late free-kick, visiting goalkeeper Juan Musso was not truly troubled.

"We don't make the most of the chances we create. Atalanta had only one shot on goal from our error, and it's the goal that counts," Allegri said.

"There is some anxiety, the players are hasty and rush things, but we must keep working on the performances and try to win games to get that confidence and calm back."

Juventus fell further off the pace in Serie A as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat against Atalanta.

Massimiliano Allegri's side were thumped 4-0 by Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday and were unable to respond with a victory at Allianz Stadium.

Duvan Zapata netted the decisive goal midway through the first half, taking advantage of sloppy Juve defending to hammer in his ninth league goal of the season.

Paulo Dybala was inches away from rescuing a point in stoppage time with a wicked free-kick that hit the crossbar, but Juve ultimately suffered a fifth league defeat of the 2021-22 campaign.

Earlier, Dybala's 10th-minute effort straight at Juan Musso punctuated an aggressive start from Atalanta, who twice went close in the opening stages, and it was the visitors who struck in the 28th minute.

Berat Djimsiti's pass caught Juve's defence napping and, having been played onside by Matthijs de Ligt, Zapata lashed a thumping effort in off the bar.

Dybala spurned a swift chance to respond, though Juve could easily have been two behind by the break had Matteo Pessina capitalised on Wojciech Szczesny's dreadful clearance.

Juve were dealt a further blow by an injury to Federico Chiesa, who did not return for the second half, and it was not until Leonardo Bonucci played in Weston McKennie before the hour that they crafted an opening.

Djimsiti was on hand to block the midfielder's path to goal, with McKennie suffering a knock in the process, ending his involvement.

Musso did brilliantly to steer Adrien Rabiot's effort beyond the post soon after, while Bonucci headed well wide from a corner.

Atalanta wanted a penalty for Juan Cuadrado's clumsy block on Mario Pasalic, and Juve had a late chance to make their fortune count when Zapata fouled Federico Bernardeschi. Dybala's free-kick had Musso beaten, but the woodwork ensured Atalanta claimed a first league win at Juve since 1989.

 


What does it mean? Juve a shadow of their former selves

The gulf in quality between Chelsea and Juventus in midweek will have been a chastening experience for Allegri, but if the Bianconeri are not careful, they might well be hard pushed to qualify for the Champions League next season, barring of course a remarkable run to glory in Europe this term – that seems unlikely, however.

They sit eighth in Italy, 11 points adrift of league leaders Napoli and second-placed Milan, who both play on Sunday. Atalanta, with this triumph – their first Serie A away win at Juve in 25 attempts – are seven points above Allegri's men, in fourth.

Zapata back to haunt Juve once more

Since the start of 2017, Zapata has scored eight goals in 11 appearances against Juve across all competitions, more than any other player in the same timeframe.

Anywhere but home for Juve

Juve have now lost three of their first seven home games in Serie A this season. It equals their worst such total so early in a top-flight campaign, matching poor runs from 1956-57 and 1948-49.

What's next?

Juve have an ideal chance to recover when they travel to lowly Salernitana on Tuesday, while Atalanta host Venezia on the same evening.

Massimiliano Allegri called for calm and patience after Juventus' mixed start to the Serie A campaign ahead of their clash with Atalanta.

The Bianconeri, who were thrashed 4-0 by Chelsea in midweek Champions League action, sit eighth in the league, 11 points adrift of early leaders Napoli and Milan.

Juve have also lost two of their first six home Serie A games for the first time since 1980-81.

However, over the last nine Italian top-flight matches, only the top two Milan (22) and Napoli (20) have picked up more points than Juve (19).

Despite that upturn in form, Allegri insisted the Bianconeri faithful must stay patient while his team continue to develop in his second tenure.

"The president asked me to return to work with the club to help Juventus return to being sustainable, obtaining results," Allegri told reporters on Friday. 

"We will put all our effort into making this happen, the team needs to work and it takes patience.

"We need to keep calm and continue working, the team is excellent. We have scored fewer goals than we would have liked and the numbers show it. 

"Football has evolved, but there is no escape from the goal difference: this is how championships are won.

"We have an important month to gain a few points. Tomorrow is not decisive, I think the most important matches will be the last six of the first round."

 

Allegri also took time to apologise to the fans following Wednesday's demolition by Chelsea, which was Juve's record Champions League defeat and second-worst in the European Cup/Champions League overall. 

"In London we lost a game and we're sorry, because we are Juventus and losing like this is not good," he added after Juve lost by four goals for the first time in 17 years in any competition.

"The match up to the 55th minute was balanced and we had a good first half, then after the second goal we lost our way, and this must not happen. 

"But we won the match we needed to win, the one in Turin against the European champions.

"Atalanta are also doing well in the Champions League where we hope all the Italians will qualify. Playing against them is always complicated, they are a physical team and we have to be attentive."

Manchester United start life without Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a huge Champions League showdown at Villarreal, while Chelsea and Juventus face a blockbuster battle.

A 4-1 Premier League hammering at Watford was the final straw for the United board as Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday.

Michael Carrick has stepped in to take charge on an interim basis and must rally the troops for the clash between the top two in Group F at Estadio de la Ceramica.

Juventus are already assured of a place in the round of 16 and Chelsea will join them in qualifying from Group H if they avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Barcelona take on Benfica in their first Champions League match with Xavi as boss knowing a win will see them through. 

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data for the fixtures on Tuesday.

 

Villarreal v Manchester United: Red Devils in troubled waters ahead of Yellow Submarine showdown

Villarreal have failed to beat United in five Champions League matches, drawing four and losing one.

The LaLiga side did get the better of the Red Devils in the Europa League final last season on penalties, though, and may never have a better opportunity to consign them to a defeat in Europe's premier club competition.

Carrick takes charge for the first time following Solskjaer's departure and will need United to tighten up at the back as they look to end a four-match winless away run in the Champions League. The wounded Premier League side have not kept a clean sheet in the competition this season.

Chelsea v Juventus: Bianconeri plotting another Italian job on holders

Juventus could win the group if they halt Chelsea's nine-match unbeaten run, as they lead the holders by three points.

The Premier League leaders have not lost since they went down 1-0 to Juve in September and they are overdue a victory against Italian opponents.

Chelsea have not come out on top in their past four meetings against Italian teams and Juve could become the first side to record three consecutive wins over the London club in the Champions League.

 

Barcelona v Benfica: Pressure on for Xavi's Champions League bow 

Xavi celebrated a derby victory over Espanyol in his first game as Barcelona boss on Saturday and another win over Benfica will secure qualification from Group E.

Third-placed Benfica beat Barca 3-0 in September and will attempt to become only the third side to do the double over the Catalan club in the group stage, Dynamo Kiev in 1997-98 and Bayern Munich in 1998-99 being the others to achieve that feat.

Barca are two points ahead of Benfica following back-to-back 1-0 wins over Dynamo and are looking to keep clean sheets for three consecutive Champions League games for the first time since May 2019.

 

Sevilla v Wolfsburg: Los Nervionenses nearing last chance saloon

Sevilla dropped points when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga on Saturday, and they can ill afford to slip up when they face Wolfsburg.

Bottom of Group G and without a win from four matches, they have not been victorious in their past seven meetings with German sides, losing four and drawing three.

Third-placed Wolfsburg have not been a Spanish team away from home in Europe, losing to Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid either side of a draw with Villarreal.

 

Other fixtures:

Dynamo Kiev v Bayern Munich

17 – Bayern have scored 17 goals in their four Champions League matches this season, the joint most by any team after four matches in a season alongside Paris Saint Germain's tally in 2017-18. Already through to the round of 16, the Group E leaders have also had the most shots (84) and shots on target (34) of any side this campaign. 

9 – Dynamo have failed to score in any Champions League matches this season, attempting just nine shots on target – three fewer than Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has managed in 2021-22 (12).

Lille v Salzburg

43 – Following their 2-1 victory away at Sevilla, Lille will be aiming to record back-to-back wins in the Champions League for the very first time. This will be their 43rd game in the competition.

2 –  Salzburg have only won two of their previous 12 away games in major European competition (excluding qualifiers), drawing twice and losing eight times. These 12 games have seen a total of 46 goals scored (19 for, 27 against), at an average of 3.8 per game.

Malmo v Zenit

– Zenit have only won one of their past 11 games in the Champions League (D1 L9). That solitary victory and clean sheet in this run of games came in their last meeting with Malmo (4-0 in September). 

8 – If Malmo fail to score in this game, they will equal the record for most consecutive games without finding the back of the net in the European Cup/Champions League (currently on 7). The previous instances of a team going eight games in a row without scoring are Dinamo Zagreb (2016), Deportivo La Coruna (2004) and Avenir Beggen (1986).

Young Boys v Atalanta

3 – Since winning three consecutive away Champions League games without conceding a goal between October and December 2020, Atalanta have failed to win each of their past three away games in the competition (D1 L2), conceding eight goals in the process.

4 – Young Boys won their opening group game against United but have since suffered three consecutive defeats in the competition. Bottom of Group F, If they lose this game, they will have suffered four defeats in a row in major European tournaments for the first time.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has long been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Madrid are reportedly preparing another approach for the France forward.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID PUSHING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid will make another move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Friday's Mundo Deportivo.

Madrid have made no secret of their interest, while Mbappe – who will become a free agent at the end of the campaign – revealed he wanted to leave PSG for Los Blancos at the start of the season.

With Mbappe's contract winding down, LaLiga giants Madrid are stepping up their pursuit.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Mundo Deportivo and Sport claim Barcelona are closing in on the signing for Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling. The England international has found himself down the pecking order in Manchester.

Arsenal are interested in Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, but there have been no talks with the Serbia international's agents, reports Fabrizio Romano. Vlahovic is also wanted by City, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Tottenham.

- Staying at Emirates Stadium, Gianluca Di Marzio says Arsenal are ready to make a move for Juventus sensation Dejan Kulusevski.

Roma, Milan, Atalanta and Napoli are eyeing Sassuolo winger Jeremie Boga, per Foot Mercato.

- Milan are readying contract renewals for Theo Hernandez, Ismael Bennacer and Rafael Leao, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- According to The Sun, Manchester United are hoping to beat Barca to Milan midfielder Franck Kessie on a free transfer. Kessie has also been linked with PSG, Arsenal, Tottenham, Inter and Atletico.

Italy boss Roberto Mancini has called up Atalanta's Matteo Pessina and Lazio midfielder Danilo Cataldi to his latest squad after losing Roma duo Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo to injury.

The European champions face Switzerland and Northern Ireland in their final two qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and currently sit top of Group C on goal difference, level on 14 points with the Swiss ahead of their crucial encounter in Rome on Friday.

Mancini, who is already without Marco Verratti due to a hip injury, confirmed earlier on Monday at a media conference that Pellegrini (knee) and Zaniolo (calf) will return to their club.

"Zaniolo was a bit unlucky because he suffered two serious injuries. He is young and he has the qualities to get over it," he said.

"It could have been an important game for him, but he has a problem and we can't take any risk. I don't think he needs my advice, he has the quality and he can improve in everything.

"We will surely replace them [Pellegrini and Zaniolo] because we also need to assess [Nicolo] Barella. We didn't call Pessina because he is not ready."

Despite this, Mancini ultimately did decide to turn to Pessina, as well as Cataldi, who receives his first senior call-up since 2017 after a solid start to the season at Lazio.

The former Manchester City manager did have better news about his defence, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci appearing to be fit to play despite missing Juventus' 1-0 win against Fiorentina at the weekend.

"They feel well, we have a training session today. We'll see how everyone feels." 

Can Cataldi step up for the Azzurri?

While Mancini is suffering from something of a midfield crisis, having players with the quality of Pessina and Cataldi to call on is not a bad problem to have.

It may be the first call-up for Cataldi in over four years, but he has achieved it off the back of some eye-catching performances at club level for Maurizio Sarri's men.

When measured against Pellegrini, whose role he will fill, Cataldi leads the way in pass success percentage (91.2), albeit the 27-year-old has only started four of his 10 league appearances, while the Roma captain has started 11.

Cataldi also has a superior pass completion rate in the opposition half, with 84.7 per cent compared to Pellegrini's 79.7, so his numbers do not appear to be indicative of him only playing easy passes.

Whether Cataldi gets an opportunity to win only his second cap remains to be seen, but he has clearly caught the eye of Mancini at least.

Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini laughed off claims Cristiano Ronaldo has been culpable for Manchester United's inconsistent form and offered the Portuguese star praise after his last-gasp equaliser.

Ronaldo volleyed home a 91st-minute equaliser to deny Atalanta three points in their dramatic 2-2 draw in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner levelled the game twice late in each half, after Josip Ilicic's 12th-minute opener and Duvan Zapata's 56th-minute strike.

During United's lean run of form, there had been some criticism of Ronaldo for his defensive work, but he has now scored in every group game in this season's Champions League.

Ronaldo, 36, became the oldest player to score two or more goals in a game for United in European competition, having also matched Ruud van Nistelrooy's 2003 feat of scoring in four consecutive Champions League appearances.

"Some even managed to say he was a problem, imagine Ronaldo as a problem," Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia after the game. "He rarely gets it off target, half the time he scores, half the time it is saved."

The result leaves United top of Group F on head-to-head from Villarreal, with both sides on seven points, while Atalanta are third on five points approaching the final two matchdays.

Gasperini admitted deep regret at Ronaldo's opportunistic equaliser but continued to praise the United veteran, who has five goals in the Champions League group stage, along with four in the Premier League this season.

"The regret is one thousand. We believed in it," Gasperini said during his post-game news conference. "We believed in it because their thrust seemed a bit exhausted too.

"We had good spaces, we controlled the race well and was very close. But this is the Champions League. We faced an extraordinary player with incredible ballistic ability, he fired a shot on a bounced ball several times. This determined the result.

"We have to accept it anyway we still have some chances for qualification. It still depends on us. We played two games that have given a lot to us, to Atalanta and Bergamo."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Cristiano Ronaldo to NBA great Michael Jordan after the forward single-handedly dragged Manchester United to a 2-2 draw against Atalanta.

Ronaldo twice inspired United to come from behind, cancelling out strikes from Josep Ilicic and then Duvan Zapata as the Red Devils earned a 2-2 draw.

The Portugal international's brace prevented United from falling to a fourth successive away defeat in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time ever and keeps his side top of their group, level with Villarreal and two points better off than Tuesday's opponents.

Ronaldo also became the second-oldest player to have netted a Champions League double after Filippo Inzaghi (37 years and 86 days) in November 2010, and Solskjaer likened his forward's impact to that of former Chicago Bulls superstar Jordan.

"We all have our roles and responsibilities," Solskjaer told reporters at his post-match news conference. "Cristiano is a leader in the group, but that's what he does: he scores goals.

"We're not happy conceding two goals. Both of them are very, very fine margins. The first one I think should be off, the second one is a centimetre onside, probably. He's maybe offside last season, it's fine margins.

"But he does provide those moments. I'm sure Chicago Bulls didn't mind having Michael Jordan either.

"Sometimes the teams have the players they have, and that's why they are at Man United and why they are champions at Chicago Bulls – you come up with those moments."

United have won just three of their past nine games in all competitions, leaving pressure on the under-fire Solskjaer, but the former Red Devils star hailed the support his side continues to receive.

"It's a great feeling, that support for the team and for me personally. It makes you humble," Solskjaer continued.

"They know that all we want is for the team and the club to do well, of course we want to do our best, and I've appreciated the support recently."

Jadon Sancho, whose opportunities have been limited since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, featured as a second-half substitute, and Solskjaer was satisfied with the England international's performance.

"I commit a crime every time I pick a team," he said. "There are always players that get left out. Against Tottenham, it was a different system, here again it was another different system.

"Jadon has got a fantastic attitude, the quality he has, and he was really sharp when he came on – the first header he cleared, and then he was really good on the ball.

"He's got a really big role to play for us for many years as a good player."

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