Cristiano Ronaldo was at the centre of transfer rumours after failing to make the Juventus starting XI at Udinese – but Massimiliano Allegri insisted there was an innocent explanation.

Ronaldo and drama go hand in hand and the superstar forward came off the bench to snatch what looked to be a stoppage-time winner in his team's opening game of the Serie A season.

A VAR ruling meant the clinical header was ruled out, however, and Juventus had to settle for a 2-2 draw, with two glaring errors from goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny costing them.

Szczesny might have been grateful for the spotlight to be shone on Ronaldo, because it took some of the attention away from his regrettable performance.

The team announcement from Allegri, embarking on his second spell as Juve head coach after last term's failed Andrea Pirlo experiment, sent shudders through football when it emerged Ronaldo was only a substitute.

It was swiftly reported by major Italian news outlets that Ronaldo had requested to be benched and was hoping to secure a move from Juventus before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Allegri said after the game that it had been a decision taken purely with the player's interests, and those of the team, in mind.

"Cristiano is fine, I had talked to him with a view to everyone's conditions at the beginning of the season, also thinking about the game especially at the beginning, and I said to him, 'Come to the bench, in the second half we will need you to come on'," Allegri said.

"He made himself available, he also did well: he also scored a goal, then unfortunately he wasn't good by a centimetre."

Allegri led Juventus to five Serie A titles in his first spell at the club, from 2014 to 2019, and had two years out of the game before accepting an offer to return.

The Scudetto is again the target for Juventus, whose nine-in-a-row title sequence ended last season as rookie coach Pirlo struggled to coax the best out of the team.

Allegri had a win percentage of 70.48 across 271 games in his first spell at Juve, but may find success this time around is harder to come by, judging by how his team started impressively but allowed Udinese to control much of the second half.

Early goals from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado had put Juve in charge, but Szczesny carelessly gave away a penalty after letting a shot squirm from his grasp and then committed a worse error in the 83rd minute that allowed Gerard Deulofeu to fire into an empty net.

Juventus have now conceded eight penalties in Serie A since the beginning of 2021: only Udinese (13) have conceded more in this calendar year in the competition.

"Unexpected things happen: this is football too," Allegri said, quoted on the Juventus official website.

"In the first half we were in control, and we had to control the ball better. Then we didn't know how to manage the unexpected, and this is a lesson that we must take home with us.

"The performance was good, but in football the only thing that counts is winning and knowing how to read the match moments. In the second half, we lost two or three too many balls in midfield, perhaps also due to the heat and the conditions at the beginning of the season."

For the first time since he joined Juventus, Ronaldo has now started two games in a row on the bench: against Udinese and in May against Bologna.

If the substitute trend continues in next Saturday's clash with Empoli, familiar rumours will return. His steadying influence over the closing half-hour of Sunday's game, as a replacement for the misfiring Alvaro Morata (three goal attempts, zero on target), suggests Juventus should do all in their powers to retain him.

Surprise substitute Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a winner by VAR deep into stoppage time as Juventus drew 2-2 at Udinese following a pair of Wojciech Szczesny blunders.

Impressive early strikes from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado looked to have paved the way for a season-opening Serie A success, and a first win of head coach Massimiliano Allegri's second spell in charge of Juventus.

But a mistake by goalkeeper Szczesny was punished from the penalty spot early in the second half, and a desperate clanger in the 83rd minute allowed Gerard Deulofeu to net a dramatic leveller.

In a ripsnorting finish, Udinese almost sneaked a winner, Mato Jajalo firing over in the 90th minute, before Ronaldo headed in a Federico Chiesa cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The celebrations were wild, and a euphoric Ronaldo was booked for removing his shirt, before he was left stunned to see the goal disallowed for offside.

Ronaldo and Dybala have contracts that run to the end of this season, and there seems scant prospect of both staying in Turin. Dybala is seemingly keen to remain, Ronaldo less so, and his omission from the starting XI here sparked fresh speculation about his future. 

Juventus took just two minutes and three seconds to surge ahead, their earliest goal in a season opener during the three-points-for-a-win era, which began in 1994-95. 

Giorgio Chiellini was on the bench so Dybala captained the team, and it was the Argentine forward who produced a special finish to catch the hosts cold. Rodrigo Bentancur slid in a low ball from the right and Dybala cleverly flicked the ball across goal into the left corner. 

Dybala then played a key role in the second Juventus goal, which came in the 23rd minute, looping a long pass to Cuadrado, who took his first touch just a couple of strides outside the Udinese penalty area. The Colombian shuffled skilfully past flummoxed Udinese captain Bram Nuytinck and lashed a low shot into the same corner that Dybala had earlier found. 

Juventus looked practically home and hosed at the break, but conceded a penalty in the 50th minute when Szczesny made a poor parry of Tolgay Arslan's shot before bringing down the Udinese man as he chased down the rebound. 

Former Juve man Roberto Pereyra fired the spot-kick into the right corner, before Alvaro Morata headed against the left post at the other end a couple of minutes later, from a chance he would expect to tuck away. 

Allegri saw the game potentially slipping away and sent on Ronaldo, Chiellini and Dejan Kulusevski on the hour mark, Morata among those to make way. Ronaldo soon teed up Bentancur to smash a shot against the right post, and then came the late drama, Juventus left smarting on day one of the new campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Juventus and his selection as a substitute for Sunday's season opener at Udinese was a mutual decision, according to Pavel Nedved.

Former Juve midfielder Nedved is now a vice-president at the club and was asked about Ronaldo being surprisingly left out of the starting XI in Udine.

Nedved said, according to Sky Sport Italia: "We must not look for sensations where there are none. It was a choice shared with the player.

"At the beginning of the season it is normal that the conditions are not top and the coach tries to field the most competitive team tonight."

Asked whether Ronaldo would remain a Juventus player this season, the last on his contract, Nedved said: "Absolutely yes."

There was nevertheless speculation that Ronaldo had requested to be selected on the bench, with Sky Sport Italia claiming the forward was looking to leave the club before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted this week that last season's Serie A 29-goal top scorer had told him he wanted to stay in Turin, and the Portuguese superstar has condemned what he described as "frivolous" rumours around his future.

 

Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real Madrid or Manchester United, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been credited with interest.

However, any of those clubs would likely have to generate funds before mounting a move for the 36-year-old five-time Ballon d'Or winner, and City are expected to move for Harry Kane rather than Ronaldo.

With Ronaldo watching on from the sidelines, Juventus snatched a third-minute lead at Udinese through Paulo Dybala.

Cristiano Ronaldo was named only as a substitute for Juventus' opening Serie A match against Udinese amid renewed speculation he wants to leave the club.

Speaking ahead of his side's opening league game of 2021-22, head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted Ronaldo had told him he wanted to stay in Turin.

Those comments came after the Portugal star posted to social media to hit out at what he described as "frivolous" rumours around his future.

However, on Sunday, Allegri selected Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata as a strike partnership, with Ronaldo on the bench.

Sky Sport Italia then reported that Ronaldo had requested to be left out of the first XI as he is attempting to secure a transfer before the window closes.

 

Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real Madrid or Manchester United, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been credited with interest.

However, any move would appear problematic. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has already said the 36-year-old will not be returning and Los Blancos are said to be trying to build funds for an attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe.

Selling the France star would likely be the only means for PSG to sign Ronaldo given the huge increase to their wage bill following the free transfer of Lionel Messi, while United must sell before buying again after spending upwards of £105million on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

City, meanwhile, broke the Premier League transfer record by signing Jack Grealish for £100m and are expected to make another push to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham in the next week.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says Cristiano Ronaldo has told him he wishes to stay at the club for the 2021-22 season.

Speculation has persisted in recent weeks that the Portugal star is pushing to leave Turin three years after his move from Real Madrid in a deal worth €112million.

A return to the Spanish capital was mooted until coach Carlo Ancelotti shot down the rumour, while possible moves to former club Manchester United, Premier League champions Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have also been suggested.

Ronaldo himself hit out at the media frenzy around his future in a social media post, condemning the coverage as "frivolous" and "disrespectful".

Allegri has now stated the 36-year-old wants to see out the remaining year of his contract at the Allianz Stadium.

"Ronaldo told me he's staying at Juve," Allegri said on Saturday ahead of Juve's Serie A opener against Udinese.

"He's always trained well. I read the rumours in the newspapers. He never told us he wanted to leave.

"Ronaldo is a bonus for us because he guarantees a large number of goals. Of course, we have to work as a team to bring the best out of a single player.

"Ronaldo didn't play the [pre-season] game on Thursday because we had been going through a tough week and I gave him half a day off."

 

Allegri returned to Juve to take over from Andrea Pirlo, having stepped down in 2019 following five hugely successful years with the Bianconeri.

He led Juve to five consecutive Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana, while also reaching two Champions League finals.

The 54-year-old said his past achievements will mean little if he cannot mount a serious challenge to reclaim the Scudetto from Inter.

"I don't have to show anything, I have to work to get results. What happened in my five years stays in the museum," he said.

"Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or but if this year he doesn't have a good year, they'll remember his last year at Juventus. The same goes for [Federico] Chiesa: what he did at the Euros won't count.

"We have to question ourselves every day, otherwise the conditions to win aren't created."

Barely a month has passed since Giorgio Chiellini lifted the European Championship trophy at Wembley, and it would seem logical to expect Serie A to begin amid high fanfare.

This may prove to be the case, as the opening weekend of the season arrives, but a major talent drain from the Italian league since last term cannot be ignored.

Romelu Lukaku, Cristian Romero and Gianluigi Donnarumma have all moved on, swapping Inter, Atalanta and Milan respectively for Chelsea, Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain.

To put those losses into greater context, of the 2020-21 Serie A end-of-season award winners, that is the MVP, the top defender and the leading goalkeeper all exiting the league.

Sweeping changes on the coaching benches also add to uncertainty as the new campaign begins, with a much-changed Inter hoping to successfully defend their title.


JUVE ON A SCUDETTO MISSION

After the folly of handing dugout rookie Andrea Pirlo the reins before last season, Juventus look to be on firmer ground this time with Massimiliano Allegri back as head coach.

They have brought in Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo, primed to play a Pirlo-like role on the pitch, and it seems Cristiano Ronaldo will hang around for the final year of his contract.

Rumours continue to encircle the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, but Allegri can likely count on his reliable flow of goals, just as he did for the 2018-19 season – Ronaldo's debut campaign in Turin and the end of the line for Allegri in his first stint as coach.

A six-time Scudetto winner, Allegri will look to get the best out of wingers Dejan Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa as they enter their second seasons with the Bianconeri, while it remains to be seen how Paulo Dybala performs as he enters the final year of his deal.

Plagued by injury last season, Dybala started just 14 Serie A games, but results were often perkier when he played. Of those 14 games, Juventus won 10, drew three and lost one, with a points-per-game average of 2.4 when he played from the off, compared to 1.9 when he was absent or a substitute. The win percentage of 71.4 per cent when Dybala was in the starting XI (compared to 54.2 per cent when he was not) is in the ball park that Allegri will be eyeing.

 


INZAGHI STEPS INTO CONTE SHOES

Social media tells us Antonio Conte has been thoroughly enjoying his summer, topping up his tan and seemingly showing no regret over his Inter exit, which came in May, just weeks after he guided the Nerazzurri to title glory.

Conte reportedly left amid concern the club planned to raise funds with sales that have duly come to fruition. The loss of striker Lukaku feels like a body blow, given his influence, and persistent rumours suggest Lautaro Martinez could also move on. Achraf Hakimi is another big loss, but, as with Lukaku, a big fee was banked as the right-back proved a one-season wonder in Italy.

In have come coach Simone Inzaghi, who impressed at Lazio, while Edin Dzeko will be a straight swap for Lukaku in the forward line, albeit unlikely to carry quite the same threat. Former PSV star Denzel Dumfries can replace Hakimi in the attacking right full-back role, and Inter will hope his Euro 2020 form transfers to Serie A duty.

It is hard to see Inter repeating last season's success, and the comedown could be painful. They exceeded their expected goals total last season, scoring 84 goals against an xG of 75.3, and Inzaghi will look for more of the same.

They possess plenty of quality still, but they have likely lost Christian Eriksen for the long term too after his cardiac arrest on Denmark duty at Euro 2020. His survival was everything in June, and now his recovery is all-important. The knock-on effect is that Inter have lost a player who became important over the second half of the season.

So much has changed since that title was secured. Landing Hakan Calhanoglu on a free from Milan looks like great business, but consolidation with a top-four finish may be their limit in the new campaign. That, and being sure to secure city bragging rights again.

 


MOURINHO'S BACK AMID MERRY-GO-ROUND

Never mind Inzaghi and Allegri at Inter and Juve, now is the time to get used to the sound of Maurizio Sarri's Lazio, Vincenzo Italiano's Fiorentina, Luciano Spalletti's Napoli ... and Jose Mourinho's Roma. Milan rather feel like the odd ones out, keeping faith with Stefano Pioli.

A whirlwind of change has swept through Serie A, and it will be worth watching to see quite what impact Mourinho can have on a side who finished 16 points short of the Champions League places last term.

His 'Special One' reputation was enhanced the last time he coached in Italy, guiding Inter to a treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League in the 2009-10 campaign.

Spells at Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham have followed, but Mourinho's cachet has diminished over the past decade.

Tammy Abraham has followed him in swapping London for Rome, with the Chelsea striker arriving, along with Eldor Shomurodov from Genoa, to pep up an attack depleted by the loss of Dzeko. Rui Patricio has joined fellow Portuguese Mourinho, and the goalkeeper's arrival from Wolves could prove a fine signing.

Roma won just five Serie A away games last term, and have only had fewer once in a season beginning in the 20th century (4 in 2002-03), while their shot conversion rate of 41.35 per cent can be improved upon, given they topped 50 per cent twice in the 2010s.

Most important for Mourinho, perhaps, will be to build on Roma's poor duel success rate (48.97 per cent) and cutting out the errors leading to goals (10 in 2020-21 in Serie A).

The duel figures are important and were the worst Roma had managed in at least 15 years, while the error count will be simply intolerable to the new boss. Only Bologna committed so many costly errors (also 10). Mourinho has his work cut out.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo hit out against "frivolous" and "disrespectful" speculation over his future in a social media post on Tuesday.

There has been great uncertainty over the 36-year-old's intentions ahead of the 2021-22 Serie A season as he has entered the final 12 months of his contract.

Ronaldo has been linked with a number of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and former side Real Madrid, whose coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke this week to deny reports the player would be returning to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United, where Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the 2007-08 Champions League, and English champions Manchester City have also been touted as possible destinations in this transfer window.

Ronaldo issued a statement via his official Instagram page in response to "people playing around with my name" as he suggested nobody was concerned with learning "the actual truth" of his intentions.

While he did not offer any assurances he would be staying at Juve, Ronaldo stressed the story of his Madrid career "had been written" in the post, which accompanied a picture of the Portugal captain holding a finger to his lips.

The post read: "Anyone who knows me is aware of how focused I am on my work. Less talk and more action, this has been my guiding motto since the start of my career. However, in view of everything that's been said and written recently, I have to set out my position.

"More than the disrespect for me as a man and as a player, the frivolous way that my future is covered in the media is disrespectful to all the clubs involved in these rumours, as well as to their players and staff.

"My story at Real Madrid has been written. It's been recorded. In words and numbers, in trophies and titles, in records and in headlines. It's in the Museum at the Bernabeu Stadium and it's also in the minds of every fan of the club. And beyond what I achieved, I remember that in those nine years I had a relationship of deep affection and respect for 'merengue aficion', an affection and respect that I retain to this day, and that I will always cherish. I know that the true Real Madrid fans will continue to have me in their hearts, and I will have them in mine.

"As well as this most recent episode in Spain, there have been frequent news and stories associating me with a number of clubs in many different Leagues, with nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth.

"I'm breaking my silence now to say that I can't allow people to keep playing around with my name. I remain focused on my career and in my work, committed and prepared for all the challenges that I have to face. Everything else? Everything else is just talk."

Juve begin their new season away to Udinese on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo is not in line for a sensational return to Real Madrid despite rumours of a Santiago Bernabeu reunion with Carlo Ancelotti, Los Blancos' head coach has confirmed.

The Portugal international is into the final year of the four-year contract he signed at Juve following his transfer from Madrid in a €112million (£99.2m) deal in July 2018.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Turin with former club Madrid among those to have reportedly been interested in the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The superstar forward scored 450 goals and provided 132 assists in 438 appearances during his nine years at Real Madrid between 2009 and 2018.

He played under Ancelotti during the Italian's first spell in charge of Los Blancos between 2013 and 2015 winning the Champions League, Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup during that time.

However, Ancelotti posted on Twitter that he has no intention of pursuing a move for the 36-year-old despite holding him in high regard.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is a Real Madrid legend. And I really respect him," Ancelotti posted on Tuesday.

"But I have never asked or planned to sign Cristiano this summer. We're looking forward."

Ronaldo scored 29 times in 2020-21 to win the Capocannoniere last season having previously also been the top scorer in the Premier League and LaLiga.

Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved has previously stated he expected Ronaldo to stay with the club this season.

Massimiliano Allegri's side begin their Serie A campaign on Sunday with an away fixture against Udinese.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is suddenly the name dominating the transfer rumour mill.

The Portuguese superstar is reportedly drawing interest from multiple quarters.

Is a departure from Juventus on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO SPECULATION ABOUNDS

Ronaldo is the subject of widespread speculation around Europe. 

Paris Saint-Germain would like Ronaldo to replace Kylian Mbappe if the France international departs for Real Madrid this summer window or next, says Calciomercato, opening up the tantalising prospect of a partnership with Lionel Messi.

Meanwhile, El Chiringuito suggests Carlo Ancelotti could make a move to bring Ronaldo back to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Elsewhere, Corriere dello Sport claims Ronaldo has offered his services to Manchester City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona could swap Philippe Coutinho to Arsenal in their bid to land Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to Sky Sports. 

- Despite signing an extension with PSG through 2023 just a few months ago, Julian Draxler could be on the way out. Kicker says a Bundesliga team, likely Bayer Leverkusen, have made a €20m offer. 

- Hector Bellerin wants out of Arsenal, The Athletic reports, saying Inter are monitoring the situation. The Star says the Gunners could move him back to Barca in a swap deal for Emerson Royal.

- Juventus will make a final bid of €35million to Sassuolo for Manuel Locatelli, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Tottenham want to add Patrick Bamford to their attack but Leeds are keen to sign him to a long-term extension, says the Mirror. 

- West Ham are still trying to land Kurt Zouma from Chelsea, says the Guardian.

- Lyon are looking to pry Emerson Palmieri away from Chelsea on a loan deal with an option to buy, L'Equipe reports. 

- Clement Lenglet could be on the move from Barcelona to Roma, says Gianluigi Longari. 

Tammy Abraham appears close to leaving Stamford Bridge.

With Romelu Lukaku arriving at Chelsea from Serie A, Roma are calling for Abraham.

Or will he remain in the Premier League? 

 

TOP STORY – ROMA PUSHING FOR ABRAHAM

The dominoes appear to be falling into place for Tammy Abraham's move to Roma, and the Italian club are pushing for a decision from the player, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

With Edin Dzeko expected to complete his move to Inter in the coming days and Romelu Lukaku now officially a Chelsea player, Abraham could complete the triangle with a jump to Serie A. 

Multiple outlets have said the two clubs already have agreed a £34million (€40m) fee. 

Arsenal remain a possibility to land Abraham should the Roma move not work out. 

If that happens, Jose Mourinho's side have lined up Kelechi Iheanacho as their next option, according to Sky Sports. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Villarreal want €65m (£55m) for Spain international Pau Torres, and the Times says Tottenham are ready to pounce with Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool also interested. 

- Paris Saint-Germain could make a move for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly to fill the hole left by Sergio Ramos' injury, says La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Serie A club will want €50m (£43m) for the veteran centre-back.

- Liverpool are interested in adding Adama Traore, but Wolves want £40m for the forward, according to 90min. 

- West Ham have long been the favourites to land Nikola Milenkovic from Fiorentina but Sky Sports says Tottenham have entered the frame for the Serbia defender. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was not in attendance for Arsenal's season-opening defeat at Brentford due to illness and The Times reports he could be on his way out at Emirates Stadium. 

- Manchester United are poised to loan out Amad Diallo, reports Romano, with Crystal Palace and Basel among those interested in the young Ivory Coast winger.

- Everton have approached United about another potential loan, for Andreas Pereira, though Romano says United prefer a permanent move. 

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not among the final nominees for the 2020-21 Champions League positional awards.

On Friday, UEFA announced the 12 players, three per position, who could win the individual prizes on August 26.

The 12 players each received the most points in each positional category following a jury vote. The jury comprised coaches from the 32 clubs that entered into the group stage last season, as well as 55 journalists representing UEFA's 55 member associations. Coaches could not vote for players from their own teams.

Messi came fourth in the poll for the best forwards, while Ronaldo did not make the top 10. Each player was eliminated at the last-16 stage, Barcelona losing to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus to Porto.

Five of the 12 nominees are from Chelsea, who won their second Champions League by beating Manchester City in the final. Edouard Mendy, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho are all nominated.

City have three representatives – Ederson, Ruben Dias and Kevin De Bruyne – while beaten semi-finalists Real Madrid and PSG provide one each: Thibaut Courtois, and Kylian Mbappe.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who finished as top scorer last season with 10, are the other nominees.

The winners of the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward prizes will be announced at the group-stage draw in Istanbul in two weeks' time.

Harry Kane remains a Tottenham player with the new Premier League season set to commence.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has declared their interest in signing the England international.

The situation has been at a standstill and remains unresolved.

 

TOP STORY - CITY READY TO UP KANE BID

Manchester City are willing to pay €150m (£127m) for Harry Kane as they try to convince Tottenham to sell their captain, claims The Guardian via Fabrizio Romano.

Spurs have reiterated Kane is not for sale this off-season despite the forward's reported request to leave late last season.

Tottenham turned down a €117m (£100m) bid previously, which is the same amount City spent to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS have reported that Paris Saint-Germain will look to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2022 as a replacement given the anticipated exit of Kylian Mbappe, whose contract expires next year. Mbappe is a long-time target for Real Madrid.

- Tottenham have ramped up their bid to sign Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, amid interest from Atletico Madrid claims Sky Sport Italia. Spurs will offer €60m (£51m) including bonuses.

- Corriere dello Sport reports that Barcelona are shopping around Philippe Coutinho, who has been offered to Lazio, Milan and Inter.

- Tammy Abraham remains unconvinced about moving to Roma despite meeting with the Italian club who had agreed terms with Chelsea, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- The Sun claims Everton have joined Tottenham, Inter and Zenit in pursuing Napoli skipper Lorenzo Insigne.

Lionel Messi's imminent switch to Paris Saint-Germain has not had an impact on Cristiano Ronaldo's future with Juventus, according to team-mate Leonardo Bonucci.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is expected to complete a move to PSG this week after bringing an end to his 21-year association with Barcelona.

French giants PSG have previously been linked with fellow superstar forward Ronaldo, who is now into the final 12 months of his contract with Juve.

With any path to the Parc des Princes now effectively being cut off by Messi's arrival, Ronaldo looks set to stay in Turin for at least the next year.

However, Bonucci insists the shock transfer involving Messi has had no bearing on where Ronaldo will play his football this coming season.

"I think that Cristiano would have stayed even if Messi had not gone to PSG," the Juve defender told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"For us, it's an added value and I'm sure that this year, more than in past years, he will help us reach all of our goals."

 

Since Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than the Portugal forward's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over this period rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Despite Ronaldo enjoying another prolific season in front of goal, Juve finished fourth in Serie A in 2020-21.

And Bonucci, who played a starring role in Italy's Euro 2020 triumph, is aiming to win back the title from Inter when the new season begins in a little under two weeks' time.

"We want to bring the Scudetto back home, there is no point in hiding that," he said. 

"When you play for Juventus, that has to be the objective for the season, just like having a great Champions League campaign and fighting on all fronts.

"Personally, though, my goal is to continue my form from the Euros, where I played a major role, and do that again with Juventus."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri says he expects Cristiano Ronaldo to demonstrate even greater responsibility this season.

Allegri returned to the club for a second spell in May, having previously guided the Bianconeri to five successive Scudettos and two Champions League finals between 2014 and 2019.

The 53-year-old will be looking to help Juve regain the Serie A title after they surrendered their crown to Inter last season.

Question marks remain as to whether or not his attack will be led in the new campaign by Ronaldo, with speculation linking him with a move away from Turin.

The Portuguese talisman top-scored in Serie A last term with 29 goals, taking his tally with the club to 101 since arriving from Real Madrid in 2018.

Ronaldo, who returned to pre-season training on Monday following an extended break due to his Euro 2020 exertions, has one year remaining on his contract at the Allianz Stadium.

 

Nevertheless, the 36-year-old remains firmly in the plans of Allegri, though the head coach warned that his game time may be reduced to accommodate team rotation during another hectic campaign.

“Ronaldo is a great player and a smart guy,” he said. “I spoke to him yesterday, as I did with the others.

“I told him that this is an important season and that I am happy to meet him again.

“Now, he has more responsibility because three years ago, we had a more experienced team, while now there are younger players.

“I expect a lot from him as an experienced player. He is in good condition and he is fit.

“There are different moments in a season, playing one game every three days. I’ll need to rotate the team, involving all the players and it also applies to him.”

Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus' pre-season training on Monday ahead of the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.

The former Real Madrid forward had been on holiday after Portugal's Euro 2020 last-16 exit against Belgium but has now returned as Juventus prepare to attempt to regain their Serie A title, which Inter won last time out.

Ronaldo, whose five goals and one assist powered him to the Golden Boot at Euro 2020, is set to become a free agent at the end of the following campaign and speculations persists surrounding his future.

The Portugal captain is due to sit down with Massimiliano Allegri, who was in charge when he initially joined from Madrid in 2018, as the pair prepare for the upcoming season.

Allegri, who won five straight Serie A titles and four league and cup doubles during his previous tenure, was reappointed following Andrea Pirlo's dismissal and will be grateful to be able to call upon the experience and quality of the 36-year-old.

Last season, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 29 times to win the Capocannoniere and added to his top-scorer awards from the Premier League and LaLiga with Manchester United and Madrid respectively.

 

Since joining Allegri's men in 2018, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (103) has outscored Ronaldo (73) in all competitions among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over that period rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Lionel Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Yet, despite his Serie A dominance, Juventus could only muster a fourth-place finish in 2020-21 and questions have arisen as to how far Ronaldo's patience will stretch, given he is progressing towards the end of an illustrious career.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo and Allegri prepare for their Serie A opener against Udinese on August 22 with a friendly against Monza on Saturday before a potential meeting with old foe Lionel Messi on August 8 at Camp Nou against Barcelona.

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