Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini has hailed Ukraine midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi's contributions to the club in recent weeks, amid the ongoing crisis unfolding back in the latter's home country.

The Ukraine international has been a key performer for the Serie A side so far this term, but has found himself thrust into the spotlight for different reasons following Russia's invasion of his home country.

Malinovskyi netted in last week's Europa League last-16 clash with Bayer Leverkusen, in which La Dea prevailed 3-2, and is expected to figure in Thursday's reverse encounter in Germany.

Speaking ahead of the trip, Gasperini offered praise for how the midfielder has responded, including a poignant gesture where he kissed a black armband in the first leg in Bergamo after scoring.

"To tell the truth, Ruslan has had a really important season, and this one has been a bit more troubled," the head coach told his pre-match news conference.

"Now he has moments in which he is in the best situation, he becomes decisive. In addition, we realise the emotional moment he is going through.

"When he manages to clean up his game, with the shot that he has, it will become important. He is a player that we have adapted to that role, he often becomes decisive.

"We hope that in the end, he is as good as possible, because we need him."

Elsewhere, Gasperini revealed that Duvan Zapata is nearing a comeback from injury, with the coach adding that he hopes to have the Colombia star back on hand as early as next month.

"He is recovering well, we hope his return is close," he added. "We will see in April, we hope it is plausible. He will have to get to match sharpness, but he is training well individually and in the gym."

Atalanta face Leverkusen on Thursday, before they wrap up their March commitments with a trip to Bologna in Serie A before the international break brings a halt to club football.

Barcelona will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xavi's side were 4-2 winners on aggregate over Napoli in the round of 32 after dropping into the competition from the Champions League.

They will now meet the Turkish Super Lig giants, with the first leg at Camp Nou to be played on March 10.

Sevilla, winners of a record six trophies, will face David Moyes' West Ham, while rivals Real Betis will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers, who shocked Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, take on Red Star and RB Leipzig will play Spartak Moscow. Spartak's home leg must be played at a neutral venue due to the military invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The first legs will be played on March 10, with the exception of Porto versus Lyon and Betis' game with Frankfurt, which will be held a day earlier. The second legs are a week later.

Europa League last 16:

Rangers v Red Star
Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt

Mauricio Pochettino's future at Paris Saint-Germain is unclear amid rumblings that he wants out.

Manchester United have been linked with the ex-Tottenham manager, who took over at PSG in January last year.

The Red Devils dismissed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, with Ralf Rangnick taking over on an interim basis.


TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS KEEN ON POCHETTINO

Real Madrid are set to rival Manchester United to land Pochettino this off-season, claims the Daily Mail.

The Red Devils are understood to be circling for the Argentine, who is reportedly unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain.

But the report claims Madrid have doubts over current boss Carlo Ancelotti's future and believe that Pochettino is obtainable in the off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City's Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva is dreaming of a switch to join Real Madrid, claims Calciomercato.

- Calciomercato also reports that Inter are monitoring Gabriel Jesus' status at City, with a view to bolstering their attack.

- Nicolo Schira reports that Atalanta are keen to move for Torino's Italy international striker Andrea Belotti in the off-season when he is a free agent.

- TuttoMercatoWeb claims Arsenal, Newcastle United, Borussia Dortmund and Inter are all in the race to sign Lille's Canadian forward Jonathan David.

- GiveMeSport claims Liverpool are "seriously interested" in West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen.

- Roma are keen on signing Barcelona's USA international defender Sergino Dest according to Fichajes.

Despite their failure to pull away from Atalanta in the hunt for a Champions League qualification place, Massimiliano Allegri said Juventus' 1-1 draw at the Gewiss Stadium was an "important point".

Atalanta had looked to be on their way to a third consecutive top-flight win over the Bianconeri after Ruslan Malinovskiy's stunning strike 14 minutes from time – the first goal Juve had conceded in 383 minutes in Serie A

Danilo ensured a share of the spoils, though, heading home two minutes into stoppage time to stretch Juve's unbeaten run to 11 games since they lost the reverse fixture in November. 

The result meant Juve remained in fourth, two points ahead of their hosts, although La Dea do have a game in hand.

"It would've been disappointing to lose a game after playing so well," Allegri told DAZN.

"We made mistakes in our finishing and the final ball. There were three minutes of terror just before half-time on the counter after we lost the ball cheaply and [Matthijs] De Ligt threw himself in the way twice.

"The second half was better. Atalanta were on the counter and Malinovskiy did well to win that free kick. It was an extraordinary goal and Danilo scored a great equaliser.

"[Weston] McKennie opened up a lot of spaces for [Paulo] Dybala and [Alvaro] Morata. The lads had some good triangles, the first chance was created by McKennie and Dybala, but there was a period where we got too crammed together and didn't spread the play.

"Atalanta are very aggressive, so we had to move the ball quickly to get it behind them. It was a very entertaining game, we were losing 1-0 and risked defeat, but it is an important point.

"We wanted to win, but knew Atalanta were strong and so we're happy to keep the unbeaten run going."

Juve are nine points adrift of leaders Milan and Allegri insists his side are not in the title race.

"It was official before this," he added. "There are too many points to claw back from three teams. We just try to improve our performances and we need to make a step forward when we have that final ball to turn a chance into a goal. That's where we need to do better.

"I said in September that Inter would win. I still feel that they are the strongest squad, no disrespect to Milan and Napoli.

"Right now, Inter are stronger than Juve. We dropped too many points at the start of the season. If we had just four points more, we could've had some fun, but that's not where we are."

Juve are next in action on Friday when they host Torino in the Derby della Mole. 

Danilo scored in stoppage time to help Juventus salvage a 1-1 Serie A draw against Atalanta at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side had looked to be on their way to a third consecutive top-flight win over the Bianconeri after Ruslan Malinovskiy's stunning strike 14 minutes from time.

Danilo had other ideas, though, heading home two minutes into added time to stretch Juve's unbeaten run to 11 games since they lost the reverse fixture in November. 

The result means Juve remain in fourth, two points ahead of their hosts, although La Dea do have a game in hand.

 

Massimiliano Allegri insists there will be more important games to come for Juventus despite the apparent stakes when they visit Atalanta on Sunday.

Juve are unbeaten in Serie A since their previous meeting with Atalanta at the end of November and head to Bergamo in fourth, two points and one place ahead of their opponents.

After a difficult start to the season, the Bianconeri's Champions League qualification hopes are in their hands – although that may well depend on securing a positive result this weekend.

Even after playing Atalanta, however, Juve have 13 games remaining, meaning Allegri is keen to talk down the magnitude of the fixture.

"It's a direct clash for fourth place, it's important but not decisive," he told a news conference. "It's a good test, it will be difficult because Atalanta have shown in recent years that they have won a place to fight for the top four positions.

"They are a physical team, who will be very angry about their elimination in the Coppa Italia, and so the game requires great focus, physicality and technique to bring a good result home."

Pushed again on the significance of this result, Allegri replied: "No, because Atalanta have [played] one less game. Now we are close, it is not decisive for anyone tomorrow. It's important, beautiful to play, but not decisive."

Juve's 10-match unbeaten run in the top flight is their longest since 2020, while a sequence of three consecutive clean sheets is their best since 2018.

But Atalanta have previously proven themselves capable of checking Juve's momentum.

Gian Piero Gasperini has overseen back-to-back Serie A wins over Juve – already Atalanta's best run in the fixture – with Parma (between 2010 and 2011) the last team to beat the perennial champions in three straight.

And Allegri is not getting carried away heading into this match, saying: "In football you always need balance. We come from a good period of 12, 13 games. Now, we must not think, because we lose focus on what we need to do.

"We have reached a semi-final of the Coppa Italia, we have to fix the league season game by game, and the more we go on the more difficult it will be to win, because the points matter more for everyone.

"We have done nothing; it is normal for Juventus to win games. Tomorrow there is Atalanta and we have to try to take three points, and then Torino, then the Champions League and so on.

"So far we have not conquered anything, there is only to do right now, there is no chatting."

Atalanta director general Umberto Marino was unhappy with what he believed was a "serious error" to allow Nikola Milenkovic's 93rd-minute winner to stand as Fiorentina triumphed 3-2 at Gewiss Stadium in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals. 

A ninth-minute Krzysztof Piatek penalty was overturned by goals from Davide Zappacosta and Jeremie Boga to give Atalanta the lead. 

Piatek equalised with 20 minutes remaining after having a penalty saved by Juan Musso, before Milenkovic hit a superb volleyed winner in the last few seconds of stoppage time. 

La Viola – who also had Lucas Martinez Quarta sent off with 10 minutes remaining for a second yellow card – celebrated wildly, but the hosts were unhappy the VAR chose not to overturn it, believing Giacomo Bonaventura was offside in the build-up. 

Speaking after the game, Marino told Sport Mediaset: "I can only congratulate Fiorentina and accept what happened. There are games when you get the feeling it is an uphill struggle for you and nothing is going to go your way. 

"Fiorentina always seem to have penalties against us, I don't know if they were the right decisions or not, but it's the third goal where we have serious problems. 

"Merih Demiral told me there was no foul for the free-kick that led to the goal, but I also have to ask if that Marten de Roon touch was sufficient to put Bonaventura back onside, then I have evidently understood nothing about football over all these years. 

"Mistakes can happen even with VAR, unfortunately they are happening a bit too often, including in Serie A. Not seeing an offside like that is in my view a serious error. 

"It is disappointing to miss out on a semi-final because of an incident like that in the 93rd minute. It is a serious error, I repeat, but errors are part of sport. 

"We simply have to accept them and move on." 

Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano admitted he took a risk on the set-piece that led to the winner, sending several players forward in an attempt to avoid extra time with a man fewer. 

"It was a game where I think before their equaliser, we were controlling the situation and had chances to go 2-0 up, but they equalised at the first opportunity," he said. 

"At the end, I called everyone forward on the free-kick because there was genuine fear of playing extra time down to 10 men. We were aggressive, brave and lucky too to believe right to the very end." 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal career appears to be over.

The Gabon forward was in Barcelona on Monday and it appeared a move would be finalised before the end of the transfer window.

However, the deadline ticked by without official confirmation, but the transfer is expected to go through on Tuesday.

That would make him Barca's third signing of the Xavi era, after Ferran Torres and Adama Traore.

 

TOP STORY – AUBA TO JOIN XAVI AT CAMP NOU

Widespread reports claim that Arsenal and Barca have agreed to a rather strange deal for Aubameyang.

The 32-year-old has reportedly agreed to a six-month contract at Barca, with the option for a further year, with Arsenal seemingly agreeing to forego a transfer fee in order to get their former captain, who has not featured since December, off the books.

Aubameyang is essentially a free agent, so that allows the deal to be completed after the deadline passed.

ROUND-UP

- Fabio Carvalho's proposed deadline day move from Fulham to Liverpool did not come off, though The Times reports that the Reds are keen to sign the youngster on a pre-contract agreement. 

- Sky Sports reported that Arsenal will save up to £25million following Aubameyang's departure, which The Express claim will be used to fund Mikel Arteta's transfer dealings in the off-season.

- Bild has reported that Real Madrid have already tabled a pre-contract agreement for Kylian Mbappe, who they are hoping to sign from Paris Saint-Germain.

- Journalist Xavi Torres believes Barcelona will attempt to terminate Ousmane Dembele's contract. The France winger is set to leave on a free at the end of the season.

- West Ham failed in a last-ditch bid to sign striker Duvan Zapata from Atalanta, according to Sky Sports.

Robin Gosens has completed a move to Inter from Atalanta on loan with an obligation to buy for a reported €25million.

Gosens signed for Atalanta in 2017 from Dutch outfit Heracles for just over €1m and made over 150 appearances for the Bergamo club in all competitions, scoring 29 goals and assisting 20.

The Germany international is believed to have already agreed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Nerazzurri, and told the club's official website that he is eager to get going.

"I'm so proud to have joined one of the biggest clubs in Europe. I'm thrilled to be here and can't wait to get started."

 

The 27-year-old also mentioned his connection to Alessandro Bastoni, who he is reunited with once against having previously played with him at Atalanta.

"We've been speaking almost every day, not just now," Gosens added. "Even two or three years ago, he told me it was a great club and how proud you feel to play for Inter.

"It wasn't a difficult decision for me. I didn't need any convincing because I also know it's a huge club. He told me about the club's history, the team, the way you work here and I'm pleased to have spoken to him."

Gosens has spent a large part of this season on the sidelines with a muscle injury, but scored 11 times in Serie A last season despite playing the majority of games at left wing-back.

Arsenal's search of attacking reinforcements has apparently led to Alexander Isak after it became clear Dusan Vlahovic is seemingly headed to Juventus.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of form and ostracised at the Emirates Stadium and Alexandre Lacazette struggling for goals, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is desperate to land attacking reinforcements in January.

Their hunt for Fiorentina hitman Vlahovic has apparently failed but Sweden star Isak may be a potential option for the Premier League side.

TOP STORY – ISAK THE MAN FOR MIKEL?

Vlahovic has been a man in demand during the January transfer window, though it appears Juve have won the race in a €75million deal.

Arsenal are now thought to be turning their attention to Real Sociedad forward Isak, and are reportedly ready to make him their club-record signing by paying £75million, which would trigger Isak's release clause.

Isak scored 17 goals in 34 LaLiga outings last term, but he has managed just four from 18 top-flight appearances in 2021-22 thus far.

ROUND UP

- Newcastle United's pursuit of new players in their fight against relegation has reportedly led to a €40m (£33.5m) bid for Lyon's defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to the Guardian. Arsenal and Juventus have also been touted as potential suitors.

- The Evening Standard says Tottenham are planning a loan deal for Fiorentina's Sofyan Amrabat as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his midfield with Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso all set to be allowed to leave. A move for Georginio Wijnaldum, whose move to Paris Saint-Germain has not exactly gone to plan, has also been tipped.

- Germany full-back Robin Gosens could be about to swap Atalanta for Serie A rivals Inter, with a move in the "final stages", says Fabrizio Romano.

- Nicolas Tagliafico has told Ajax he wants to joined Barcelona in what he considers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Goal first reported Barca coach Xavi was eyeing the left-back to provide competition for Jordi Alba.

- Donny van de Beek is seemingly headed for a loan move out of Manchester United. Crystal Palace are said by Sky Sports to be in direct negotiations with the Red Devils, while a temporary switch to Valencia is also an option.

Jeremie Boga has left Sassuolo for Atalanta in a deal reported to be worth €18million. 

Former Chelsea winger Boga will be on loan at Atalanta for the remainder at the season, though the move will be made permanent in the close season. 

The Ivory Coast international scored 18 goals and supplied seven assists in 98 Serie A games after joining Sassuolo from Chelsea in 2018. 

Boga has attempted (152) and completed (80) more dribbles than any other player in Serie A since the start of 2021.

His 90 carries with a take on in the same timeframe is also the most of any player in the Italian top-flight, with only Adama Traore (145), Allan Saint-Maximin (122), Kylian Mbappe (113), Vinicius Junior (104), Neymar (102) and Yannick Carrasco (94) boasting more across Europe's top five leagues. 

"I'm really happy right now and so is my family as we've wanted to come here for a long time. Now we're happy that the deal is done," Boga told the club's official media. 

"I think Atalanta are a great team, they are very strong and have proved to be an important team in Serie A over the past five or six years. 

"I think it perfectly matches my style of play. I believe it's the right team for me to take another step and try to win something important. 

"I know everybody expects something more from me and, at the same time, I expect myself to do better. I'm happy to be here. 

"I know it's a solid team where everyone runs for the other, where each player works, and I think it's perfect, as you can see it's a real team." 

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

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.

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."

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