The Jadon Sancho saga continues.

A move to Manchester United has long been mooted for England international Sancho.

While United and Borussia Dortmund negotiate, could Sancho's future be set to become clearer?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HAVE OFFER REBUFFED

Manchester United have had their first offer for Jadon Sancho rejected by Borussia Dortmund, according to the BBC.

United have long been interested in Sancho, with the Premier League giants unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund before the 2020-21 season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United are back again for England international Sancho, though their initial £67million (€77.9m) bid will not suffice as Dortmund hold out for at least £77.5m (€90.1m).

 

ROUND-UP

- If United miss out on Sancho, Sport1 claims the Red Devils will turn to Kingsley Coman after registering their interest in the Bayern Munich winger.

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are interested in Roma and Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini. The 24-year-old is out of contract in 2022 and Liverpool and Atletico Madrid are also eyeing the Italian.

United and Liverpool are set to go head-to-head for Argentina defender Cristian Romero, per Calciomercato. Romero has impressed during his loan spell with Atalanta from Juventus. Atalanta are expected to trigger a clause to sign the 23-year-old permanently as they then look to receive a big fee.

- Ronald Koeman is the key to Barca signing Memphis Depay, reports Mundo Deportivo. Depay is a free agent following the conclusion of his Lyon contract.

Barcelona have offered Antoine Griezmann to Juve, according to Calciomercato. With Cristiano Ronaldo's future in Turin uncertain, Juve could be tempted by Griezmann's availability. Juve have also been linked with Tottenham star Harry Kane, who is reportedly wanted by United, Manchester City, Chelsea, BarcaReal Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

It may be a year late, but Euro 2020 is almost upon us and the opportunity for glory is just around the corner.

The usual suspects will be undoubtedly favoured by many, with France's squad seemingly stronger than ever, Portugal possessing a seriously talented group and England looking good as they bid to end their long wait for international success.

Similarly, Italy and the Netherlands are back on the scene after missing out on tournament qualification in recent times, while Germany will be hoping to bounce back from their World Cup humiliation.

Die Mannschaft were eliminated from the group stage of a World Cup for the first time ever by South Korea three years ago, and Joachim Low will be eager to restore some dignity in what will be his final tournament in charge.

But could the trophy actually end up being lifted by one of the unfancied teams? We all remember Greece's remarkable triumph in 2004, for example.

With that in mind, Stats Perform has identified some potential dark horses ahead of the tournament.

Turkey – Group A

Key man: Burak Yilmaz
One to watch: Abdulkadir Omur

It's fair to say Turkey are a curious team in international football. They have reached the semi-finals in two – and come third on both occasions – of their past three major tournaments, which is impressive, but the caveat is that trio of qualifications spanned 2002-2018.

Euro 2020 will be only their fourth major tournament appearance out of a possible 11 this century across the European Championship and World Cup, and they disappointed at Euro 2016 as they were eliminated at the group stage.

But there are reasons for optimism this time, particularly given the encouraging amount of talent in a youthful squad – their average age of 25 years exactly is the lowest at the tournament, and it would be even lower were it not for the presence of 35-year-old Burak Yilmaz, who certainly isn't there as some kind of token 'Golden Oldie'.

 

The burly centre-forward proved plenty of doubters wrong in his debut Ligue 1 season with Lille, his 16 goals and five assists helping them to an unlikely title triumph. Those 21 direct goal involvements put him six ahead of any other Lille player, and his experience helped a Les Dogues team that was also on the young side.

Yilmaz became the first player to score at least 15 goals in his first season with Lille in Ligue 1 since Moussa Sow in 2010-11 (25), while his penalty at Angers on the final day saw him beat the record for the most goals netted by a Turkish player in a single campaign in the competition, set by Mevlut Erdinc in 2009-10.

 

Yilmaz's Lille team-mates Zeki Celik and Yusuf Yazici – the latter scored 14 club goals across all 2020-21 competitions from midfield – are also present, while Hakan Calhanoglu offers guaranteed creativity. The Milan playmaker created the most chances in Serie A (98) in 2020-21, while his nine assists came from an xA (expected assists) value of 8.5, suggesting that haul came from a place of consistency rather than luck.

But then Turkey also looked solid at the back in qualifying, their three goals conceded in 10 games was the joint-best record alongside Belgium, and Kaan Ayhan's three headed goals en route to the Euros wasn't bettered by anyone, meaning Calhanoglu's set-piece deliveries could be a real asset.

 

Senol Gunes is back at the helm having guided them to third place at the 2002 World Cup, and he may just fancy another upset 19 years on.

Ukraine – Group C

Key man: Ruslan Malinovskiy
One to watch: Illya Zabarnyi

Ukraine are long-term underachievers at this level. They've failed to score in their last five games at the European Championship, the longest goalless run in the history of the tournament.

In fact, none of Ukraine's last 67 shots have ended in the back of the net. This, coupled with the fact their coach Andrey Shevchenko is the only player to find the net for them at the Euros (a brace against Sweden in 2012) highlights their biggest issue over the past nine years: scoring goals.

While the likes of Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka – the latter of whom isn't in the squad due to injury – have good records, Ukraine have lacked a reliable goal threat in the central striker berth practically ever since Shevchenko retired.

 

However, in Gent forward Roman Yaremchuk they may have finally founded a suitable answer, with the 25-year-old heading into the tournament on the back of his best-ever season for goals, having netted 20 times in the Belgian top flight.

Those 20 strikes came from an xG (expected goals) value of 18.2 as well, so although he may have been fortunate once or twice, he would still have expected to get a good haul, which speaks to his reliability in front of goal.

 

Ruslan Malinovskiy of Atalanta is another interesting player. Something of a late bloomer, the talented central midfielder has been an important part of a wonderful Nerazzurri side this season.

While his Serie A-high 12 assists was considerably higher than his 6.7 xA, suggesting his passes benefited from particularly impressive finishing, that xA figure was still only bettered by only six players.

Similarly, his 57 key passes in open play was second only to Luis Alberto (59), yet it's worth bearing in mind Malinovskiy only actually started 22 matches. 

 

Czech Republic – Group D

Key man: Tomas Soucek
One to watch: Adam Hlozek

At Euro 2016, the Czech Republic only managed one point as they failed to get past the group stage, and there will be plenty of people expecting them to crash out in a similar manner again.

Nevertheless, they're a country with a strong history in the competition given this is their seventh successive appearance at the Euros, a streak only Germany (13) and France (eight) can better.

Group D should provide them with opportunities as well. While England will be strongly fancied to finish top, Croatia aren't generally seen as quite the same force they were at the last World Cup, and Scotland, though possessing some talented players, are inexperienced at such competitions.

An area that could prove particularly useful for the Czech Republic in what could prove to be a tight group is their set-piece prowess. Seven of their 13 goals in qualifying were scored at set-plays – that's 54 per cent, the joint-highest ratio of any side to qualify.

That's not their only weapon, however. They do have talented individuals in the squad such as Jakub Jankto and Patrik Schick, the hard-working Tomas Soucek – who won more duels and aerials than any other Premier League player in 2020-21 – and a solid goalkeeper in Tomas Vaclik.

They also have something of a wildcard in their midst: Adam Hlozek.

Despite missing a chunk of the season through injury, Sparta Prague's Hlozek still managed to plunder 15 Liga goals in just 19 matches, and in April he became the competition's youngest hat-trick scorer with his treble against Opava.

He then finished the season with an astonishing four-goal haul against Zbrojovka Brno to finish as the league's joint-top scorer, though he also had six assists to his name. The 18-year-old is a complete striker if there ever was one, and he could be a potential breakout star for Czech Republic if he overcomes a pre-tournament injury.

Poland – Group E

Key man: Robert Lewandowski
One to watch: Kacper Kozlowski

Poland's situation in terms of grouping is quite similar to the Czech Republic. Spain will be expected to top Group E, otherwise it looks difficult to call between the Polish, Sweden and Slovakia.

Further to that, the runner-up spot will secure a second-round clash with the team that finishes second in Group D, which could potentially be the Czech Republic. It's entirely plausible that either of them could get as far as the quarter-finals thanks to a relatively kind draw.

Of course, there are lots of variables to consider before than and along the way, but Poland have the advantage of boasting arguably the world's best striker in their squad.

Sure, Robert Lewandowski has scored only one goal in his last 10 games in major competitions (World Cup and Euros), netting against Portugal in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, but he heads into this tournament on the back of a remarkable season.

The Bayern Munich star's 41 Bundesliga goals broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 in a single season. The next-best tally in Europe's top five leagues in 2020-21 saw Lionel Messi trailing well behind on 30.

 

Lewandowski unsurprisingly also led Europe in expected goals – with his chances worth 32.2 xG – and expected goals on target, producing shots with a value of 35.8 xGOT.

He and Poland were arguably unfortunate to not reach the semi-finals five years ago as they were the only team never to trail at any point in Euro 2016, with their elimination by eventual winners Portugal coming via a penalty shootout.

If Lewandowski manages to carry over his Bayern form a little better this time around, who's to say they can't go beyond the last eight in 2020.

Roberto Mancini has included Sassuolo forward Giacomo Raspadori in Italy's final 26-man squad for Euro 2020.

Raspadori is a surprise selection considering he is yet to make his debut for the national team and has only played 39 games in Serie A.

The 21-year-old did make 27 league appearances in the 2020-21 campaign but only 13 of those were starts, scoring six goals as Sassuolo finished eighth.

All of his goals came since the turn of the year, though, including finding the net against Milan in April and then also Juventus the following month.

He was part of Italy’s squad that was knocked out of the European Under-21 Championship on Monday, losing 5-3 after extra time against Portugal in an eventful quarter-final tie.

As well as Raspadori, Mancini also found a spot for Atalanta defender Rafael Toloi, though his club colleague Matteo Pessina failed to make the final cut.

There is no place for Matteo Politano either, while Roma defender Gianluca Mancini misses out.

Italy face the Czech Republic on Friday in their final friendly before the tournament, which was postponed last year due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Azzurri will then go up against Turkey in their opening game on June 16, with Switzerland their next opponents four days later. They round out the group stage by taking on Wales on June 20, with all of those fixtures taking place in Rome.


Italy squad for Euro 2020:

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino); Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta); Nicolo Barella (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Marco Verratti (Paris); Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku headlined the list of Serie A's MVP winners for the 2020-21 season.

Ronaldo finished the campaign as the leading scorer in the competition, netting 29 times across 33 appearances for Juventus to be named the most valuable forward.

Lukaku ranked second in the scorer's list with 24 goals from 36 outings, though the Belgium striker did provide 11 assists compared to Ronaldo's tally of three as he was named "the best overall" MVP.

Both forwards only netted one goal from outside the area and scored six penalties apiece, while Lukaku had a better shot conversion rate than Ronaldo – 25 per cent compared to 17.26 - as he helped Inter finish as champions.

 

Meanwhile, Gianluigi Donnarumma – whose future remains unclear as his contract at Milan nears an end – was selected as the top goalkeeper.

No other keeper played more games than the 22-year-old (37), while his tally of 14 clean sheets was level with Inter's Samir Handanovic for most in the league.

Cristian Romero was named as the best defender after a fine season with Atalanta, while Inter's Italy international Nicolo Barella scooped the midfield MVP honour.

Barella played 36 times for Antonio Conte's champions, scoring three goals and setting a further up seven. On average, he created 1.46 chances per 90 minutes.

There was also recognition for Dusan Vlahovic, named the best player under the age of 23 in Serie A after netting 21 league goals for Fiorentina.

Ronald Koeman's first season in charge at Barcelona was less than convincing, creating doubts about his future.

Koeman guided Barcelona to third place in La Liga in 2020-21, as well as lifting the Copa del Rey, but they bowed out of the Champions League in the last 16.

It was a season of change at Barcelona, with Joan Laporta taking over as president in March and recently stating they will undergo an off-season "renovation" and that their "cycle has ended".

 

TOP STORY - KOEMAN SET FOR BARCA SHOWDOWN TALKS

Ronald Koeman will sit down with Barcelona president Joan Laporta this week for showdown talks about his future, claims Diario Sport.

Koeman was appointed by previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu on a two-year deal in August last year.

Laporta will also likely inform the Dutchman to sell up to 10 players to fund their off-season transfer plans.

Barcelona have been linked with a host of players including Sergio Aguero, Erling Haaland and Georginio Wijnaldum this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims that David Alaba will join Real Madrid irrespective of Zinedine Zidane's future. Alaba has completed and agreed to a pre-contract.

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain are shaping as the favourites to sign Liverpool's off-contract midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum rather than Barcelona who are yet to make an offer for the Dutchman.

- Barcelona are weighing up an off-season move for Atalanta's German versatile full-back Robin Gosens, claims Diario Sport.

Milan will look to secure Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea on a permanent deal, with a €28million option to buy him, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal have opted out of the race for Brighton's Yves Bissouma, boosting Liverpool's hopes of signing him reports The Mail.

- Leicester City are in the hunt for Sassuolo midfielder Jeremie Boga, joining the race along with Atalanta and Napoli, according to Calciomercato.

Franck Kessie's penalties gave Milan a 2-0 victory that secured their return to the Champions League after a seven-season absence as Atalanta finished with 10 men.

Milan led the way in the Scudetto race until February but fell off the pace and went into the final weekend knowing that defeat could see them slip to fifth and miss out on a place in Europe's premier club competition. 

They showed little desire to attack Atalanta, who were already guaranteed to finish in the top four, but moved ahead two minutes before half-time thanks to Kessie's first spot-kick. 

Marten de Roon was shown a red card – a little shove on the referee in response could land him in further bother – following the awarding of a second penalty in second-half stoppage time that Kessie slotted home to spark jubilation in the Milan camp.

Milan spent much of the first half successfully absorbing Atalanta pressure but they were awarded a chance to go ahead when Joakim Maehle felled Theo Hernandez in the box.

Former Atalanta midfielder Kessie confident stepped up and drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner in a massive moment for Milan.

Gian Piero Gasperini sent on Luis Muriel for the second half but the hosts struggled to test Gianluigi Donnarumma.

They nearly fell two behind in the 69th minute when Kessie surged forward and fed Rafael Leao, who saw his dink over Pierluigi Gollini hit the upright.

Milan continued to defend well as Atalanta looked for an equaliser that would have secured an unprecedented second-place finish for the club.

However, referee Maurizio Mariani pointed to the spot when Hakan Calhanoglu's mishit deflected off Jose Luis Palomino and struck Robin Gosens on the arm.

De Roon was dismissed for violent conduct in an ensuing melee and he responded by pushing the referee.

Kessie was eventually able to take his penalty and he converted again to ensure it was Napoli who missed out on Champions League qualification.

What does it mean? Milan save some face

The Rossoneri were in danger of becoming only the second team to finish outside the top three in Serie A after leading at the halfway stage – Juventus being the other side when they slipped from first to fifth in 1935-36.

However, Kessie's penalties clinched a valuable victory that secured their best league finish since 2011-12, lightening the blow of seeing arch-rivals Inter lift the trophy earlier on Sunday.

The Rossoneri also made history by becoming the first team to win 16 Serie A away games in a single season, breaking a record that was set by Inter in 2006-07.

Franck deserves a Kessie

With a pair of penalties, Kessie became the first Milan player to score 11 spot-kicks in a single Serie A campaign in history. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (12) and Ciro Immobile (14) have registered more across one season.

Maehle has a mare

The way Atalanta were playing it seemed like it would only be a matter of time until they got the opening goal, but Maehle's reckless challenge on Kessie changed the game. He gave away possession 12 times and failed to win any of his eight duels.

Key Opta Facts

- Milan will return to play in the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14 (when they were eliminated in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid).
- The Rossoneri have set a new all-time record for away wins in a Serie A season: 16. No side has ever done better in the top-five European leagues in a single campaign (16 also for Real Madrid in 2011-12 and Manchester City in 2017-18).
- Franck Kessie is the first Milan player to score two penalties in a single Serie A match since Kaka in April 2009 against Palermo.
- Atalanta have failed to score in only two of their past 21 Serie A matches: both against Milanese sides (the previous against Inter last March).
- Milan have kept a clean sheet in five consecutive Serie A games for the first time since March 2006.
- Stefano Pioli's side have taken the most penalties (20) in a single Serie A season since 2004-05 (when Opta started to collect this data).

What's next?

Milan will hope Champions League qualification enables them to tie Gianluigi Donnarumma and Calhanoglu down to new contracts, with Atalanta also able to look forward to another season in Europe's premier club competition.

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is dominating headlines.

Milan want to re-sign the Italy international but time is running out.

A blockbuster move to LaLiga could be on the horizon…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA TO SPAIN?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been offered to Barcelona by his agent Mino Raiola, according to Diario AS.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with Milan.

He has been linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, Barca, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Donnarumma's arrival could force Barca to sell star number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Kylian Mbappe's proposed transfer to Real Madrid does not hinge on head coach Zinedine Zidane, who could leave at the end of the season. Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Madrid great Raul have emerged as the frontrunners should Zidane leave, but it will not impact Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe's future. Madrid have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

Sergio Aguero is set to accept a contract offer from Barca until June 2023, reports Fabrizio Romano. Aguero is poised to become a free agent once his deal with Manchester City expires. Lyon captain Memphis Depay is also on the verge of moving to Camp Nou on a free transfer.

- Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, Atalanta's Josip Ilicic and Roma attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan are potential replacements for Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, according to Tuttosport. Calhanoglu's contract is expiring at San Siro amid links with Juve, United and clubs in Qatar.

Monza are eyeing Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Monza – owned by former Milan president Silvio Berlusconi – are currently in Serie B and missed out on promotion via the playoffs. Monza also boast Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Buffon has already revealed he will leave Juve at the end of the season.

Andrea Pirlo wants to remain as Juventus head coach next season, but accepts the decision could be taken out of his hands. 

Pirlo has endured a challenging first season in charge of the Bianconeri, but he steered them to a record-extending 14th Coppa Italia title with a 2-1 win over Atalanta on Wednesday.

Federico Chiesa scored the decisive goal 17 minutes from full-time after Ruslan Malinovskiy had earlier cancelled out Dejan Kulusevski's fine strike. 

The triumph meant Pirlo became the fourth Juve boss to win the Coppa Italia as both a player and a coach, after Luis Monti, Carlo Parola and Dino Zoff.

Juve need to beat Bologna on the final day of the season on Sunday and hope one of Napoli or Milan slip up in their respective games against Hellas Verona and Atalanta to qualify for next season's Champions League. 

While Pirlo accepts it has been a difficult season, he insists he has no intention of stepping down from his role at the end of the campaign. 

"We wouldn't be here talking about fifth place and a premature Champions League exit if it had been a totally positive season," he told RAI Sport. "There were ups and downs, these two trophies [Juve also won the Supercoppa Italiana] cannot cancel that out.

"For my first season, I have learned a great deal and then found these satisfactions that are very gratifying.

"Of course I would confirm myself in this role. I've loved football since I was a child and will continue to love it. The club will decide, but I love coaching. I love this club, and we'll see what is decided. I would like to continue."

Pirlo also revealed Chiesa was almost denied his moment of glory, with Paulo Dybala poised to replace him. 

"We were about to take him off when he scored; that's football for you," he said. "Not everyone has scored a decisive goal in a cup final, so it's great for him."

While Juve largely struggled in the first half at the Mapei Stadium, they were a team reborn in the second period. 

They limited Atalanta – who had Rafael Toloi sent off late on after he had already been substituted – to just a single shot on target after the break, with Pirlo attributing their improved display to a few half-time tweaks. 

"It was a wonderful game with two great teams who fought from start to finish," he added. 

"[Juan] Cuadrado was a little too deep in the first half, but I told him to be more ferocious on [Robin] Gosens and [Weston] McKennie to attack their centre-back. We did it in the second half and it all went much better."

Juventus had more than the obvious reasons to rue the miracles worked by Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini as they were made to dig into dwindling reserves during Wednesday's Coppa Italia final.

Most of the way through their utter dominance of Serie A over the past decade, Juve decided winning alone wasn't enough – certainly not if they were to become a preeminent force in Europe.

They needed a superstar and along came Cristiano Ronaldo. That was half the job and, fittingly considering their marque signing, the other part concerned aesthetics.

Increasingly in the modern game, the way in which a team wins marks them out as great. Massimiliano Allegri was certainly no arch practitioner of catenaccio but he was a coach of substance more than style.

Juve did not want pragmatism, they wanted a philosophy. After all, Gasperini's Atalanta – all intricate whirring parts – were compiled on a shoe string and scoring goals by the bucket load. Why couldn't the grand Old Lady have some of that?

And so, Allegri made way for Maurizio Sarri. A ninth consecutive Scudetto arrived via Sarriball but with little of the desired joy. So off he went and in came club great and coaching rookie Andrea Pirlo.

Charged with improving a bankable winning machine, Pirlo headed to the final in Reggio Emilia with Juve's Champions League qualification hopes now out of their hands. Admittedly, his board don't seem too keen on that competition nowadays.

The Bianconeri tried to match Atalanta stride for stride during the opening stages but they coughed up chances and were fortunate to see the best of those fall to lumbering centre-back Jose Luis Palomino – Gianluigi Buffon's early save so crucial to this 2-1 victory and the goalkeeping great riding off into the sunset with one last piece of silverware.

Duvan Zapata fired into the side-netting and made the first half an utterly torrid experience for Matthijs de Ligt. Juve were snapping into challenges and trying to roll with the punches, but much of the first half looked like a team in the season's latest fashion trying to match a catwalk model stride for stride.

 

Then a player reared in the Atalanta style opened the scoring. For Juventus.

Dejan Kulusevski moved to Turin from Bergamo, via an electrifying loan spell with Parma, in deal that could be worth €44million to Atalanta.

Whether that is a price worth paying after the Sweden attacker's goal and assist denied them a first major honour for 58 years is a tantalising question, but selling gems like Kulusevski and Manchester United winger Amad Diallo at huge mark ups is a massive reason why Atalanta head into the final weekend in Serie A guaranteed a Champions League spot for a third consecutive campaign.

They are an impeccably run club, and this defeat to a Juve in shambles will truly sting. The build-up to the 31st-minute opener was as chaotic as the club who scored it, but Kulusevski's curled left-footed finish was an utter delight.

The response to that artistic flourish came via the sledgehammer of Ruslan Malinovskiy's left boot after the brilliant Remo Freuler – who completed more passes (55) and gained possession (nine) more times than any of his team-mates – ransacked Adrien Rabiot.

At that point, it felt like there was only one winner, but Juve regrouped, re-established their lead and Atalanta's discipline unravelled.

There will be a lot of guff spoken about Juventus' DNA and such, although this victory owed everything to the younger more recently attached parts to this Frankenstein's monster of a team.

De Ligt came out the other side of his Zapata ordeal and produced a heroic and painful block to deny Cristian Romero when it was still all square, giving the Dutchman a more grizzled contribution to this win than the wonderfully weathered Giorgio Chiellini alongside him.

Kulusevski drew a sharp reaction stop from Pierluigi Gollini and Ronaldo's deft backheel saw Federico Chiesa hit the post.

Ronaldo seemed happy to play second-fiddle to the bright young things alongside him and they combined for glory, Chiesa coming inside menacingly from the left and exchanging passes with Kulusevski to score emphatically.

It was the sort of sleek goal desired to be a feature of the post-Allegri years and this piece of silverware should help a team in transition, even if the evidence of the season as a whole suggests Pirlo is not the man to lead it.

Buffon lovingly strapped his gloves back on to lift the trophy – the 19th major honour of an incredible senior career at club and international level – but this was a night that belonged to the players who will shape Juve's future. It is a future that aspires stylistically to romantics like Gasperini, however little comfort that might provide for him and his beaten players.

Federico Chiesa scored the decisive goal as Juventus sealed a record-extending 14th Coppa Italia title with a 2-1 win over Atalanta on Wednesday. 

It has been a disappointing first season in charge for Andrea Pirlo, with the Bianconeri knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Porto and their hopes of qualifying for next season's competition hanging by a thread ahead of the final round of Serie A fixtures this weekend. 

And they looked set for more despair when Ruslan Malinovskiy cancelled out Dejan Kulusevski's fine strike before half-time. 

Juve stormed back in the second half, though, and sealed victory in their 20th Coppa Italia final thanks to Chiesa's composed finish with 17 minutes remaining.

Atalanta did most of the pressing in the early stages, with Duvan Zapata and Remo Freuler both flashing efforts narrowly wide of Gianluigi Buffon's goal. 

It was Juve who went ahead, though, Kulusevski superbly whipping past Pierluigi Gollini after being picked out on the right-hand side of the penalty area by Weston McKennie. 

Gian Piero Gasperini's side deservedly pulled level four minutes before the interval when Malinovskiy collected Hans Hateboer's pass and lashed a powerful strike past Buffon from just inside the area.

Gollini got down well shortly before the hour mark to paw away Kulusevski's near-post flick, while Chiesa curled against the post after a slick with involving Cristiano Ronaldo.

Chiesa was not to be denied in the 73rd minute, collecting Kulusevski's pass and then sliding home his 13th goal in all competitions this season. 

Atalanta battled in the closing stages, but they never really came close to finding a goal that would have forced extra time, with Juve holding on to consign last season’s final defeat to Napoli to history.

Robert Lewandowski may be contracted to Bayern Munich until 2023 but speculation is mounting about his future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Poland international, particularly if the Parisians lose Kylian Mbappe.

The agent of the Bundesliga record-breaker is reportedly putting pressure on Bayern to re-negotiate his current deal, fuelling the rumours of a switch.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA MAKE LEWANDOWSKI ENQUIRY

Chelsea have reached out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to discuss a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, according to Sky Sport Germany.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea would face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, in the event Lewandowski decides to leave Munich, where he has been based since 2014.

Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, showcasing their financial strength which could be switched to Lewandowski should they miss out on the Norwegian.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane reports the Daily Mail. Kane has reportedly asked to leave Spurs amid links with City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, claims The Sun. Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix is also a target for the Blues, reports Sky Germany.

- The Sun says David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami are pursuing Arsenal attacker Willian, who is reportedly keen on the opportunity.

Frank Lampard is on Crystal Palace's radar as they plan for Roy Hodgson's successor, according to Talksport. Hodgson will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.  

- Corriere dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso is ready to leave Napoli as Fiorentina circle and he wants club captain Lorenzo Insigne to join him.

Juventus will be without Leonardo Bonucci for the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta, Andrea Pirlo has confirmed.

The centre-back missed the weekend's 3-2 win over Serie A champions Inter with a knee injury that keeps him sidelined for Wednesday’s game.

Juve will have Paulo Dybala available, though, and Pirlo admits he is facing some difficult decisions when it comes to the composition of his forward line.

On Bonucci, the Juventus boss said: "[He] has a knee problem and won't be available tomorrow. We have several solutions for tomorrow."

Dybala also failed to appear in that game, remaining rooted to the bench as Juventus secured a much-needed victory despite losing Rodrigo Bentancur to a 55th-minute red card.

However, the Argentina international is fully fit and could come back into the starting XI in Reggio Emilia.

Pirlo added: "[He] is fine. He played a good game against Sassuolo, but there were no conditions for him to enter on Saturday. He is available and ready to play.

"All the attacking players are doing well, so we will then decide who to start from the beginning."

Juventus' two Serie A meetings with Atalanta this season brought them a home draw and an away defeat.

And Pirlo expects another big test from a team who have continued to grow under Gian Piero Gasperini this term.

He continued: "Atalanta forces you to pick up the pace, we know it and we are ready to face it. I don't think it will be a very different match from the other two. 

“We earned the final with two hard-fought matches against Inter. We really want to bring this trophy home.”

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Where will Pau Torres play next season?

The Villarreal defender is reportedly wanted by Premier League giants Manchester United, who are set to face the LaLiga outfit in the Europa League final.

But Napoli are also eyeing the Spain international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED FACE FIGHT FOR VILLARREAL DEFENDER

Manchester United could face a battle from Napoli to sign Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

United are looking to bolster their defence amid links to Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

Torres has emerged as a serious option, though Napoli are also reportedly interested, with star Kalidou Koulibaly's future uncertain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Lautaro Martinez and Inter have opened dialogue over a contract renewal, says the front page of Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport. Martinez has previously been tipped to join Barcelona, while Madrid have reportedly emerged as suitors.

- L'Equipe claims Lyon captain Memphis Depay will complete his move to Barca in June. It comes as Barca look to seal other free-transfer details for Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum. Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City's soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero.

Roma have no interest in signing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The Italy great will leave Turin at the end of the season, but it will not be for the Italian capital, reports Calciomercato.

- According to Calciomercato, Mauro Icardi has been tipped to swap Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala linked with Juve exits, former Inter captain Icardi could return to Italy.

Atalanta are set to trigger their option to sign Cristian Romero from Juve, claims Fabrizio Romano. The defender has been scouted by United.

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