Italy’s all-time top goalscorer Gigi Riva has died aged 79.

Riva scored 35 goals in 42 appearances for Italy and was a member of the squad which won the 1968 European Championship and lost in the 1970 World Cup final to Brazil.

He was also a prolific goalscorer for Cagliari, leading the Sardinian club to their only Serie A title in 1970.

Cagliari said: “He was the greatest of them all. Without comparisons or possible comparisons. The best Italian striker in history. And one of the deadliest gunners who ever lived. His name was Gigi Riva, also known as Rombo di Tuono.

“A formidable footballer, an upright sportsman, a bearer of crystalline values and principles. A true legend, a timeless myth. An icon of Sardinia, his adopted land, to which he was bound by visceral love. He passed away today at the age of 79. A sad day for us and for all of world football.”

A minute’s applause was held at the start of the second half of the Italian Super Cup final between Inter Milan and Napoli in Saudi Arabia.

Current Cagliari boss Claudio Ranieri paid his own tribute.

He told the club website: “It’s the news I never wanted to hear. It caught me off guard, shocked, I’m speechless. Gigi’s passing leaves an unfillable void in all of us.”

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s superb strike helped AC Milan to a 3-1 Serie A victory at struggling Cagliari.

Zito Luvumbo gave Claudio Ranieri’s winless side a shock lead but Noah Okafor and Fikayo Tomori turned things around before Loftus-Cheek’s first Milan goal secured the win.

Milan have now won back-to-back league games since their derby drubbing by city rivals Inter – their only dropped points of the season so far – while Cagliari remain in the bottom three with just two points from their opening six matches.

Stefano Pioli’s side started on the front foot against their out-of-form hosts, Tijjani Reijnders drifting an early opportunity wide before Loftus-Cheek wasted a chance due to a heavy first touch inside the area.

Much of the visitors’ threat was coming from Samuel Chukwueze down the right, with the Nigerian’s cross-shot floating wide.

The first big chance fell to striker Okafor, but his tame shot from 12 yards was easily held by Boris Radunovic.

Cagliari caught Milan out from a throw-in to score just their second goal of the season in the 29th minute, with Luvumbo – who got their first – smashing a left-footed strike into the roof of the net.

Ibrahim Sulemana shot straight at Marco Sportiello from distance as Cagliari pushed for another but Milan went straight down the other end to level after 40 minutes.

Christian Pulisic jinked past the full-back to cross low into the area and Radunovic spilled the ball into the path of Okafor, who finished from six yards.

Milan seized the initiative as Chukwueze fired over before Theo Hernandez’s shot required a fingertip save by Radunovic.

And the Rossoneri were ahead on the stroke of half-time as Reijnders’ cross along the six-yard line was bundled in by Tomori.

Cagliari threatened in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Luvumbo was denied by a last-ditch block and Gaetano Oristanio shot over from the edge of the box.

Loftus-Cheek’s goal came on the hour mark as he arrowed a superb strike from 25 yards low into the bottom corner.

The hosts carried little threat as Milan controlled the game, but Luvumbo capitalised on a slip from Tomori to create their best chance to reduce the arrears three minutes from time as Oristanio’s strike was beaten away by Sportiello.

Milan’s next game is at home to Lazio on Saturday while Cagliari face a trip to Fiorentina on Monday.

Claudio Ranieri has been unveiled as the new coach of Cagliari, with the former Leicester City manager returning to his former club for a second stint.

The 71-year-old was previously in charge of the Serie B side between 1988 and 1991, guiding them from the third to the first tier with consecutive promotions.

Ranieri, who was dismissed by Watford in January after just three months in charge, reunites with his old team three decades after his previous spell, with the team down in the bottom half of the second tier.

He succeeds Fabio Liverani, who was sacked following a 2-1 defeat to Palermo last week, and will take charge on January 1 on a contract that runs to June 2025.

"Cagliari is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement with Claudio Ranieri who will take over the technical leadership of the first team," read a club statement.

"Now the return to the Rossoblu, where it all began, to write a new chapter in history. Welcome back Mister, it's nice to hug you again!"

Ranieri, best known for Leicester's stunning Premier League title success, has only coached more games with Chelsea and Fiorentina than he has Cagliari, where he remains a cherished figure.

Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Watford after their loss to relegation rivals Norwich City left them in the Premier League's drop zone. 

Watford went down 3-0 at home to Norwich on Friday, extending their winless run in all competitions to nine games – their worst such stretch since December 2013. 

It proved to be the final straw, with Ranieri having only claimed seven points from a possible 39 since taking over from Xisco Munoz in October. 

He became Watford's 15th manager since Giampaolo Pozzo bought the club in June 2012 and leaves without having much of an impact.

The club released a statement confirming the news on Monday.

Watford praised the "integrity" of the 70-year-old, but explained they felt a change was required to give Ranieri's replacement enough time in their fight against relegation.

"Watford Football Club confirms the departure of head coach Claudio Ranieri," it read.

"The Hornets' board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.

"However the board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the head coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.

"No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course."

Watford will hope to end a run of 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet when they travel to Burnley on February 5. 

Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Watford after their loss to relegation rivals Norwich City left them in the Premier League's drop zone. 

Watford went down 3-0 at home to Norwich on Friday, extending their winless run in all competitions to nine games – their worst such stretch since December 2013. 

It proved to be the final straw, with Ranieri having only claimed seven points from a possible 39 since taking over from Xisco Munoz in October. 

He became Watford's 15th manager since Giampaolo Pozzo bought the club in June 2012 and leaves without having much of an impact.

The club released a statement confirming the news on Monday.

Watford praised the "integrity" of the 70-year-old, but explained they felt a change was required to give Ranieri's replacement enough time in their fight against relegation.

"Watford Football Club confirms the departure of head coach Claudio Ranieri," it read.

"The Hornets' board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.

"However the board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the head coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.

"No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course."

Watford will hope to end a run of 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet when they travel to Burnley on February 5. 

Manchester City picked up from where they left off in 2021 by battling to a late 2-1 win over Arsenal, extending their lead at the Premier League summit.

A Riyad Mahrez penalty and a last-gasp strike from Rodri cancelled out Bukayo Saka's first-half opener after Gabriel Magalhaes received a needless red card for the Gunners in an action-packed game – the first top-flight match of 2022.

City's 11th league win in a row means they end New Year's Day with an 11-point advantage at the top, a tally bettered by only two clubs in the competition's history on January 1 – Manchester United in 1993-94 and City themselves in 2017-18 (both 12 points).

There were also victories for Tottenham and West Ham, the London pair seeing off Watford and Crystal Palace respectively to remain in firm contention for a top-four finish.

Here, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of Opta data from Saturday's action. 

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City: Leaders recover to stretch winning run against Gunners

Saka's opening goal against City was only the second the Citizens have conceded in the first half of a Premier League game this season, and the first such goal they have shipped on their travels since May.

That was the England international's sixth league goal of the season and was the 36th goal scored by a player aged 21 or under for Arsenal in the English top flight since Mikel Arteta's first game on Boxing Day 2019 – eight more than any other team.

Mahrez converted a contentiously awarded penalty shortly before the hour mark at Emirates Stadium, the Algeria international scoring for a fifth game running in all competitions, and Gabriel's second yellow card – 78 seconds after his first – swung the game in City's favour.

That was Arsenal's 100th red card in the Premier League era, making them the first side to reach that milestone, with Everton (99), Newcastle United (90) and Chelsea (82) next on the list.

Rodri completed the turnaround with City's latest winning goal in a league game since May 2018 (92:28) as the Citizens made it 10 successive top-flight victories over the Gunners, an opponent Pep Guardiola has yet to lose against in the league in 12 encounters.

Watford 0-1 Tottenham: Sanchez stings Hornets in late Spurs win

Tottenham also left it late to overcome Watford and make it eight Premier League games without defeat under Antonio Conte, extending the longest unbeaten start by a Spurs boss in league competition.

Davinson Sanchez made the breakthrough with 95 minutes and 45 seconds played, with that the latest winning goal Spurs have scored in the top flight since Opta started recording such data from 2006-07.

Watford dug deep but could not quite hold on for a valuable point, meaning they have now lost more Premier League matches (nine) since Claudio Ranieri took charge in October than any other side in the division.

Sanchez's goal was his second in five Premier League matches for Spurs, which is more than he had netted in his first 108 in the competition (one), with the defender heading in from a Son Heung-min free-kick.

Watford boss Ranieri has now lost each of his last five Premier League games against Italian managers, whereas compatriot Conte has never lost against a fellow Italian in the competition in six meetings, winning all but one of those.

Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham: Hammers survive Olise-inspired scare

Palace fell just short of pulling off a remarkable comeback as they lost a home league match on New Year's Day for the first time in their history, with this their 14th such match.

Michail Antonio's close-range finish and a Manuel Lanzini double gave West Ham a commanding three-goal lead, the latter having now scored 52 per cent of his 25 Premier League goals in London derbies (13) – the highest percentage of any player to have scored at least 20 times in the competition.

Michael Olise made a huge difference from the bench by setting up Odsonne Edouard and then scoring a second for Palace late on, making him the first Eagles player to score and assist as a substitute in the Premier League.

But the visitors held on to ensure boss David Moyes made it six straight away league wins against Palace as a manager, defeating a different coach on each occasion during that perfect run (Alan Smith, Iain Dowie, Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce, Roy Hodgson and now Patrick Vieira).

Antonio Conte insisted Tottenham have room for improvement if they are to enjoy future success after his side edged past Watford.

Spurs have yet to lose in eight Premier League games under Conte, extending the longest unbeaten start by a Tottenham manager in league competition.

It seemed for large parts on Saturday that Spurs would have to settle for consecutive draws as Daniel Bachmann repeatedly thwarted the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min at Vicarage Road.

However, Davinson Sanchez headed home Spurs' latest ever winning Premier League goal since Opta began recording data (95:45) as he rose the highest to seal all three points for the visitors in a 1-0 win.

Victory over Claudio Ranieri's struggling side moves Spurs within two points of fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played two games more, but Conte still wants more from his side.

He told Sky Sports: "It is important to get three points. We know we have to suffer to get points. We are building a team to try to be competitive in the future but we know we have to be competitive in this season too.

"It is important to be humble, to fight and to suffer. I think everything can improve.

"It was difficult because we didn't score but created chances and when you find an opponent who is well organised it is not simple.

"But when you score the game changes and you find spaces to attack. I am happy with the commitment and effort from the players. We were a bit tired but I wish the world to my friend Claudio Ranieri the best because [Watford] deserve something."

Conte has never lost a Premier League match against an Italian manager (W5 D1), with three wins to his name against Ranieri.

The former Inter head coach expressed his satisfaction with the performance of his side as he commented on how difficult the busy festive period has been.

He added to BBC's Match of the Day: "To play so many games in a few days is not easy. This was the fifth game in 13 days and if you think we played almost with the same players, this period is busy but at the same time we try to get a result because it is very important, three points is very important.

"We have to improve the last pass, in the first half it was 29 crosses and no goals, it is important for us to improve the quality in the last pass because that gives you the possibility to score."

Before the Watford clash, Conte called for patience as he warned Champions League football will not be sealed with a couple of months of work and one transfer window.

But Conte feels the best way for Spurs to succeed in January is to keep playing the way they are doing, as opposed to focusing on various needs in the transfer market.

"Honestly, when Tottenham put me in charge, I asked for time to make my evaluation about the squad, now I did and for sure we will have a meeting with the club," he continued.

"It is important always to be honest, to understand where we are at in this moment, which is our point of start and then I will see. January is not simple, but maybe we will see what happens.

"We have to continue to work in this way and these players are giving me everything, great commitment and trust – the best buy in January is to continue this way. Then we will see what are our intentions are."

Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City "must be careful" against Watford as the Spaniard hailed the career of Hornets manager Claudio Ranieri.

City are a point behind leaders Chelsea after 14 games following the 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Wednesday, while Thomas Tuchel's side edged past the champions' next opponents.

Ranieri's side crushed Manchester United 4-1 at home in late November, though, and Guardiola insisted his side must be cautious against the strugglers despite winning their last six games across all competitions.

"I know what [Watford] want to do, and what they do, they do really well," Guardiola told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"Against United they played well, against Chelsea they did a really good game. They are close results. 

"Against Leicester they lost but had more chances. Every game is there. We have to be careful tomorrow and do another good performance."

Guardiola, who has won all nine meetings with Watford across all competitions by an aggregate score of 39-3, also hailed his opposite number Ranieri for his work in football.

"Football has to be grateful to still live with important people like Claudio Ranieri," he added. "What he has done in his career is amazing, Leicester is the benchmark. 

"[He's worked] in Spain, Italy, France – I admire this type of person. What they have done, have the passion, energy to go there. 

"When they lost against Liverpool, the press conference after…the confidence he showed, I would be depressed. The first game to lose the way I lose and go there [to say], 'Follow me, we are going to win'. 

"I admire a lot still they have this passion, this energy. It will be a pleasure to see him again, I know the results against him always aren't good."

Rodri, along with Bernardo Silva – who has four goals in his last seven league games, as many as his previous 55 in the competition – has been a standout performer for City.

The former Barcelona head coach, whose side have won more Premier League away games (72) than any other side since his first season in charge, noted the Spain international's performances as he again credited Silva.

Asked about Silva's recent showings after he claimed the Portugal international was a class above, Guardiola said: "Take a video in Anfield, in Stamford Bridge, in the last game. You will know it.

"It's no secret. We have no top scorer upfront who creates something out of nothing. We have to do it as a team, it's good everyone is involved and has the permission to score goals. I never said in my career, 'Don't score a goal.' They have the feeling to go and try.

"Rodri is 23, 24. Everything is a process. Last season he played good, maybe the last part of the season drop a little bit but we gave him more minutes last season. You have to be careful this season. 

"The fact we are out of the EFL Cup is good for that. He is playing at an extraordinary level, the consistency. 

"He has to be [number] seven or an eight [in terms of position] all the time, he cannot be three or four because it destroys the team, he cannot be 10 because 10 is for the strikers. He is playing consistently, defensively, offensively."

Watford have appointed Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach.

Ranieri has signed a two-year deal at Vicarage Road following the departure of Xisco Munoz, who became the first Premier League managerial sacking of the season on Sunday.

Under Munoz, the Hornets won their first game on their top-flight return against Aston Villa but only managed to pick up four points from the next six games to leave them in 15th.

However, new appointment Ranieri is no stranger to English football having enjoyed spells with Chelsea and Fulham, while overseeing the most unlikely of title-winning terms with Leicester City.

The Foxes secured the title in 2015-16, led by the likes of Riyad Mahrez, N'Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy as they lost just three times all season under the Italian's stewardship.

Despite the triumph, Leicester and Ranieri parted ways the following season with the defending champions just a point above the relegation zone with 13 games left to play.

He then returned to take charge of Fulham in 2018, via a stop at Nantes, but was sacked after just 106 days in charge, with the Cottagers heading for an imminent relegation from the Premier League.

The former Chelsea manager's most recent job was with Sampdoria, but he departed in the close-season after a two-year spell with the club, having initially taken charge in 2019.

Watford, who have now hired six and fired five different permanent head coaches since Marco Silva's departure in January 2018, become Ranieri's 21st club in his 35-year career.

He will be joined by assistant coaches Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia, as well as fitness coach Carlo Spignoli, as he prepares for the difficult task of the unbeaten Liverpool in his first game on October 16.

Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri insists Fabio Quagliarella did not feature against Inter for tactical reasons, despite reports linking the striker with a stunning return to Juventus. 

Quagliarella previously spent four years with Juve, initially joining on loan before making his switch permanent, and won the Serie A title for three successive seasons under Antonio Conte. 

The 37-year-old is rumoured to be a potential target for the reigning champions as they look to strengthen their forward options for the second half of the 2020-21 campaign. 

Ranieri kept the veteran frontman on the bench for the entirety of Wednesday's 2-1 home win over Inter, yet insisted afterwards it had nothing to do with speculation over the player's future at the club.

"The fact that he did not enter has nothing to do with the transfer market, it was a technical choice," Ranieri explained to Sky Sport Italia. 

The evergreen Quagliarella has scored seven goals in 14 Serie A appearances this season for Samp, boasting a conversion rate of 25 per cent.  

Cristiano Ronaldo is the competition's top scorer but Juve want to provide support for the Portuguese.

They have also been linked with another experienced forward in Olivier Giroud, who could be on the move in the January window due to a lack of playing time at Chelsea. 

"We could use him," Juve head coach Andrea Pirlo told DAZN after a 4-1 win over Udinese at the weekend. "But these are things that [Juventus sporting director Fabio] Paratici knows better than me.  

"We talked about it but let's see if we will do something in the next few days." 

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