Chelsea and England defender Reece James has revealed he had his Champions League winners' medal and Euro 2020 runners-up medal stolen during a burglary at his home.

The break-in happened while the 21-year-old was playing for the Blues in Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League win over Zenit.

James played a full part in Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Manchester City in last season's final and was used once for England in their run to the European Championship final, where they lost to Italy.

He took to social media on Thursday to appeal for help finding the culprits, who took a safe that also contained his Super Cup winners' medal.

"These medals were won representing Chelsea and England – honours that can never be taken away from me whether or not I have the physical medals to prove it," James posted alongside four CCTV clips of the incident.

"Nevertheless, I am appealing to all my Chelsea and England fans to help identify and turn in these low life individuals who will never be able to rest easy as the evidence is mounting against them.

"The police, my advisers and Chelsea FC (and many others) are all behind me as we have firm leads on who the perpetrators are. We are closing in on them. 

"Luckily, no one was present during the break in but I want to let all of you know I am safe and well. 

"I really do appreciate having the platform to tell you all about my misfortune and I hope together we can catch these individuals and deliver justice where it is due."

Academy product James has featured regularly for Chelsea over the past two seasons and has already made four appearances this campaign under Thomas Tuchel.

European champions Italy are on a world record 37-game unbeaten streak, but they remain lodged at number five in the FIFA rankings.

The world governing body published its new list on Thursday and the only change in the top five saw England jump to third, nudging France down to fourth.

England were runners-up to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, losing on penalties at Wembley after a 1-1 draw, and two wins and a draw from World Cup qualifiers in September have seen Gareth Southgate's team edge ahead of Les Bleus.

It is the first time since 2012 that England have reached the top three, and third place remains the highest position they have achieved in the rankings.

Didier Deschamps' France could only manage two draws and a win in this month's international break, while Italy were held by Bulgaria and Switzerland before landing a 5-0 victory over Lithuania.

Italy have been a roaring success under the leadership of Roberto Mancini, who inherited a team that failed to qualify for the last World Cup and had plummeted to 21st in FIFA's rankings.

They set the record for the most games unbeaten at international level during their run of September games, staying in control as leaders of World Cup European qualifying Group C.

With FIFA's rankings offering significant weighting to World Cup tournament performance, Italy could make a significant leap should their strong form under coach Mancini continue into the Qatar 2022 finals.

Belgium remain top of the FIFA list, with Brazil in second. Copa America winners Argentina stay sixth.

 

Roberto Mancini is wary about the prospect of the World Cup taking place every two years, with Italy's Euro 2020 winning boss calling for talks to weigh up the FIFA proposal.

The current men's international match calendar ends in 2024 and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is seeking to shape a new schedule in his role as FIFA's chief of global football development.

However's, the plans being pushed by Wenger have been met with opposition, with CONMEBOL and UEFA both coming out vehemently against his core idea.

The World Cup has traditionally been a tournament that has been held once every four years, and there are worries players could be overburdened and the competition devalued if it switches to a biennial event.

Mancini has not outright come out against the idea, but he wants it thoroughly examined.

"The World Cup every two years is something to be evaluated," Mancini said, quoted widely in the Italian media.

"The World Cup is fascinating because it comes once every four years. If you play every two, it would mean a World Cup, a European Championship, a World Cup, a European Championship. I don't know, we need to talk about it."

For now, Mancini is looking to build on his team's success in the recent European Championship, when they beat England on penalties in the final to be crowned kings of the continent.

The success put former Inter and Manchester City boss Mancini in the spotlight, and he has affirmed his commitment to Italy ahead of next year's World Cup in Qatar, ruling out a return to club management before that tournament.

Italy are closing in on a place in the finals, leading the way in Group C with four wins and two draws, extending their unbeaten record to an all-time record of 37 matches.

"Going back to coaching a club? Now there is the World Cup and then let's see," Mancini said. "We have to stay focused on the World Cup, we have to quickly secure qualification and we have to try to win the Nations League.

"I don't think about clubs and I am concentrated on the national team. Coaching the national team is the best thing."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Simon Kjaer ahead of Wednesday's clash with Milan, saluting the defender for his composure and humanity in response to Christian Eriksen collapsing at Euro 2020.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's European Championship opener against Finland in June, with Kjaer the first on the scene to place his team-mate in the recovery position before leading the rest of the team in the formation of a protective shield around the Inter man as he received treatment.

The 29-year-old midfielder was subsequently taken to hospital and it was later confirmed he had suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch, but medics were able to resuscitate him.

Eriksen was fitted with a pacemaker before returning home, though it remains unclear if he will ever play again.

Kjaer received widespread praise for his quick-thinking at such a crucial juncture, with he and the eight medics involved hailed the "true heroes of Euro 2020" and presented with the 2021 UEFA President's Award by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin last month.

Kjaer is expected to be in the Milan team that will play the club's first Champions League match in seven-and-a-half years at Anfield, and Klopp hopes Liverpool fans recognise the defender's exploits.

"I am usually more keen to focus on my own players rather than an opponent, but tonight I must make an exception," Klopp wrote in his programme notes.

"This evening it is possible that Simon Kjaer will line up against us and this is a person who I think has the respect of the entire football and sporting world.

"You recognise true leadership in a crisis. I think the world acknowledges this now more than ever with everything that goes on around us.

"Like millions of others, I was rocked by the scenes that unfolded at the European Championship in the summer when Christian Eriksen fell ill during Denmark's opening group game.

"There were many heroes that night, not least of all the remarkable medical professionals for the Danish national team, in the stadium and subsequently at the hospital. But Simon shone that traumatic day for his own conduct.

"The image of the Danish players shielding their team-mate as he was cared for will, in my opinion, forever be one of the most iconic in sporting history. It showed the best of humanity. Compassion, care and love for their friend.

"Honestly, I have no idea how he managed to not only keep his own composure in that situation, but to have the clarity of mind to make the decisions he did in that moment. His conduct humbles us all.

"I'm told that Simon's dad is an LFC fan – and if that is the case, he must be bursting with pride that his boy is now recognised worldwide as the epitome of our anthem, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

"I know our supporters are knowledgeable and generous of spirit and therefore I am sure Simon will feel the gratitude of the home crowd tonight, but for the 90-plus minutes of the game he is again the opponent."

Wednesday's contest will be Liverpool's first Champions League match in front of a home crowd since March 11, 2020, when the Reds lost 3-2 to Atletico Madrid after extra-time and were dumped out of the competition at the last-16 stage.

Klopp feels Liverpool were always lacking something in the absence of supporters through the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, but in his opinion that was always exemplified during Champions League games.

"It will be so cool just before kick-off to hear that Champions League anthem and see the players lined up in front of a full Anfield," he continued. "We missed supporters for every second of every game during the pandemic, but I must admit it was most acute on the European nights.

"Let's have all the noise, all the colour, all the positive energy and all the passion and intensity that is our trademark. Let's give this fixture the stage it deserves. I honestly cannot wait."

Wednesday's match will be the first meeting between the two historic clubs that is not a European final, with their only prior clashes being in the Champions League deciders in 2005 and 2007, winning once each.

Fabio Capello claimed former side England have a "monkey on their back and then fail" when it comes to finals.

Gareth Southgate's men reached their first major final in 55 years at Euro 2020, but lost on penalties as Italy claimed their first European Championship since 1968.

England have enjoyed relative success in September's World Cup qualifiers, crushing Hungary and Andorra 4-0 before conceding a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Poland.

In the latter game, Southgate opted to not make any substitutions – the first time the Three Lions have done so since the Euro 1996 semi-final against Germany.

And Capello believes there is a reason for the England manager's lack of substitutes in Warsaw after heartbreak in the Euro 2020 final two months ago.

"If [Southgate] doesn't make subs it means he wants this group to be convinced to be strong, as the results proved," Capello, who managed England for five years until 2012, told reporters.

"Bear in mind, they have just botched half a match versus Italy in the final, when they were overwhelmed by fear and stopped playing.

"I know England and their problems. They have that monkey on their back to get to the final and then they fail."

England are unbeaten in their last 16 international matches (W13 D3) – their longest streak without defeat since a 16-game run between September 1995 and November 1996.

While international teams pursue qualification for Qatar 2022, FIFA's chief of global football development, Arsene Wenger, is pushing a biennial plan for future World Cups.

The former Arsenal manager's proposition, which was put to FIFA in May, would see global football's most important tournament switch to a two-year cycle.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin greeted the suggestions with disdain, but Capello revealed he would support the proposed changes as a player.

"As a player, I would like the World Cup to be played every two years," the 75-year-old Italian continued.

"Four years is a long time and sometimes you are at the top of your game but when the World Cup comes you are not and you have no chance to shine.

"At the same time, waiting four years makes that trophy more coveted and important, it is bigger.

"Every two years, this value would decrease but again, as a player, I played the World Cup just once, and the second time I missed it for the width of a hair, so I would [play every two years]."

Paul Pogba insists he and his fellow France players have no problem with head coach Didier Deschamps but were "disgusted" by the team's failure at Euro 2020

Draws against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ukraine in World Cup qualifying have followed France's wretched European mission.

Despite going into Euro 2020 as many people's favourites, France were knocked out on penalties by Switzerland in the second round, with Pogba seen in a lively discussion with Deschamps after the game.

Deschamps has been boss of France since 2012 and is set to lead his reigning world champions into next year's World Cup, assuming they qualify.

Manchester United midfielder Pogba looks set to face Finland on Tuesday as France attempt to end a run of five successive draws – including the 3-3 thriller with the Swiss that was followed by the spot-kick sucker punch.

France had never before drawn five consecutive games, and they perhaps need a win to lift spirits.

Speaking about his post-Switzerland talks with Deschamps, Pogba told TF1 on Sunday: "It wasn't hard-nosed. It was a discussion with frustration. But it was just that. There is nothing at all. It's going very well with the coach."

Pogba added: "We were disgusted with the Euro. But we want to get over that and move on. It really hurt us. When you think back to that match against Switzerland, nobody would have imagined that. We are the ones who lost the game. It was not Switzerland that won it."

France led 3-1 against the Swiss but folded in the closing stages of normal time, and Pogba said: "If we replayed the game it wouldn't be the same. We would certainly have changed the way we entered the field."

Against Finland, Deschamps will be determined his team avoid another slow start.

France have surprisingly conceded the opening goal in each of their last five games, their longest such run since another run of five from November 2009 to June 2010, during Raymond Domenech's reign as national coach.

They sit top of Group D but Finland, four points behind in second place, have two games in hand, making Tuesday's clash in Lyon a significant game in how the campaign pans out.

England's tactics are similar to those of Liverpool and European champions Chelsea, so says Gareth Southgate.

The Three Lions reached the final of Euro 2020, only to lose on penalties to Italy after a 1-1 draw at Wembley after extra time.

With a squad packed with attacking talent at his disposal, Southgate often faced clamour to find a way to fit as many of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden into his starting XI as possible.

While all those players played their part, Southgate started every game with a holding pivot of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in midfield, with England lining up in a back three in the final itself.

England, who had the tightest defence at Euro 2020, conceding just two goals, were outshot by 19 to six in that match, with Luke Shaw's early goal their only attempt until Harry Kane headed over in the 58th minute.

Southgate's team are back in action on Thursday, facing Hungary in World Cup Qualifying Group I - England sit top with nine points from their three games so far.

Asked once again if he feels he has at times been too conservative with his approach, Southgate told a news conference: "I'm always looking at Chelsea who are the Champions League winners who play three attacking players.

"Liverpool play three attacking players normally. So what is required to win football matches at the very highest level? Most teams will get four in if they played two wide players, a 10 and a nine, or three forwards and an attacking eight.

"I don't see too many teams in world football who win things playing with five attacking players who have no tactical discipline or who have no balance to the team, so of course I understand people want to see exciting players. I get that. I think our goalscoring record is pretty strong compared to other nations.

"The teams that have won tournaments in the past were averaging 12 goals in those tournaments. We had 11, Italy got 13. We weren't far away on that. I think we play good football.

"I think we build the game. We retain possession of the ball. We need to do that better in the biggest matches when we are pressed intensely, without a doubt. But we can't get every attacking player on the pitch and some of them still have a long way to go to being the finished article.

"We have got some big players who have got us to a semi-final and a final, who have proved themselves in the biggest games on the biggest stage.

"We've got lots of guys with good reputations who haven't as yet necessarily won things with their clubs and who still have a lot to prove. That's going to be interesting to watch all those journeys this year, with us and with their clubs."

How did England perform in attack at Euro 2020?

While Southgate will rightly point to reaching a World Cup semi-final and then taking England to their first major tournament final since 1966 as evidence of the outstanding progress made, some questioning of his attacking plan does seem justified, however, based on the numbers from Euro 2020.

England did indeed score only two goals less than Italy at Euro 2020, with the Azzurri joint-top in that regard alongside semi-finalists Spain.

In terms of total chances created, England ranked fifth with 48, way behind leaders Italy (104), with Spain (86), Denmark (71) and Switzerland (52) also ahead of Southgate's team.

However, only Spain created more big chances – those defined by Opta as a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score – than England's tally of 16, with the Three Lions converting half of these opportunities.

A total of 189 passes or crosses into the area also ranked England behind the other three teams to make it to the semi-finals. 

Italy, Spain, Denmark and Switzerland all had more shots than England, despite there of them playing fewer matches, while nine teams scored at a faster rate (England managed a goal every 57.27 minutes, whereas tournament leaders Spain recorded a strike every 41.54 minutes).

Only Belgium recorded a better shot conversion rate than England, though.

Another record went tumbling on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading goalscorer in the history of international men's football.

Ronaldo, who completed a remarkable move to Manchester United this week, surpassed the tally of 109 set by Iran great Ali Daei.

The 36-year-old pulled level with Daei during the recent Euro 2020 tournament, but he reached 111 with a dramatic late double during the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at Estadio Algarve.

To mark the Portuguese superstar’s latest record, Stats Perform looked back at some of the milestone goals of his incredible career...

 

GOAL 100 – MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 Tottenham (FA Cup, January 2008)

The first century of goals was completed in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, with a 22-year-old Ronaldo doubling his tally for the match with a deflected effort that squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Radek Cerny.

GOAL 200 – REAL MADRID 2-0 Valencia (LaLiga, December 2010)

Again, Ronaldo was on target twice in this match but it was his first strike – a measured left-footed finish from Mesut Ozil's assist – that took him onto 200 career goals.  

GOAL 300 – Granada 1-2 REAL MADRID (LaLiga, May 2012)

Madrid were behind in this game with only five minutes gone but levelled late on when Ronaldo converted a penalty that he had won. There was still time for title-winning Madrid to seal all three points courtesy of an own goal.

GOAL 400 – REAL MADRID 3-0 Celta Vigo (LaLiga, January 2014)

At the double once more, it was his second goal in injury time that brought up a quadruple century for the irrepressible Ronaldo, who turned home a fine cross from Gareth Bale. 

GOAL 500 – Malmo 0-2 REAL MADRID (Champions League, September 2015)

The first of two goals on an otherwise uneventful night in Sweden was the one that took Ronaldo to a tally of 500. Through one-on-one, the outcome was never in doubt as he confidently chipped the ball over Johan Wiland.

GOAL 600 – REAL MADRID 4-1 Juventus (Champions League, June 2017)

What a stage on which to make history, the Champions League final. Having already opened the scoring, Ronaldo struck again when he turned in Luka Modric's near-post delivery on a glorious night in Wales for Madrid. 

GOAL 700 – Ukraine 2-1 PORTUGAL (Euro 2020 Qualifying, October 2019)

The first of his landmark goals that has failed to help his side to victory, but an astonishing personal achievement nonetheless, Ronaldo slotted home his penalty and probably started thinking about reaching 800 soon after.

Jorginho has not yet received a contract offer to extend his stay at Chelsea as he targets playing for as long as possible.

The midfielder won the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel's side last term and then Euro 2020 with Italy, leading him to be named UEFA Men's Player of the Year.

His club and country double saw him become just the 10th player to achieve the feat of winning both competitions in the same year, though his long-term future at Chelsea remains unclear with two years left on his current deal.

"One thing at a time and in the end they come to terms," Jorginho told reporters on Tuesday, as he prepares to face Bulgaria, when asked if he could possibly see out his career at Stamford Bridge.

"On the contract, I say that I didn't have any offer and now I don't even think about it, honestly.

"But at 29 you already talk to me about finishing my career, but I want to play until 40. If they make me a ten-year contract, then yes."

Jorginho insisted his focus was on one game at a time, with Bulgaria, Switzerland and Lithuania all to come in World Cup qualifiers.

The 29-year-old was a standout performer for Italy at Euro 2020, leading the charts for recoveries (48) and interceptions (25) after carrying his Champions League form into June and July.

Jorginho's 484 successful passes were bettered only by Spain's Aymeric Laporte (644), as he created seven chances for his team-mates. Only international colleague Lorenzo Insigne (40) was involved in more shot-ending sequences than his 38.

With one individual award already under his belt, the former Napoli midfielder refused to be drawn on the Ballon d'Or race while also insisting Italy will now face a different challenge in the aftermath of their European Championship success.

"Now [it] becomes difficult, Italy is no longer a surprise," he continued. "It is in the place it deserves to be and all those who come to play against us will do it in a different way.

"After what we have done we are happy, but we must always remain humble.

"On the Ballon d'Or, I let you speak, I try to live in the moment. There are still a few months left for that decision and I think about the present, I want to enjoy this moment with those around me. We'll see what happens."

Jorginho has been crowned UEFA Men's Player of the Year for the 2020-21 campaign following a stellar year for club and country.

The 29-year-old helped Chelsea to Champions League success in May and followed that up by winning Euro 2020 with Italy six weeks later.

He started every game for Italy and missed just one match for the Blues in their run to continental glory as he became the 10th player to win both competitions in the same year.

Former Napoli midfielder Jorginho edged out Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne for the award at Thursday's ceremony in Istanbul.

It is the first time in the award's 11-year history that the top three was comprised exclusively of midfielders.

Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Erling Haaland were notable absentees from the three-man shortlist.

The award, which is based on performances at club and international level over the course of a season, was last year won by Lewandowski.

Jorginho's memorable campaign

The role Jorginho played in Italy's triumphant Euro 2020 campaign likely cemented the award, the deep-lying playmaker leading the way in a number of areas.

Jorginho topped the list for interceptions (25), recoveries (48) and fouls won (19), rightly earning himself a spot in the official Team of the Tournament.

He was just as important to Chelsea's second ever Champions League triumph, with no midfielder intercepting the ball more times (26), while only four players in his position completed more than his 662 passes.

Despite an underwhelming Premier League campaign on the whole for the Blues last time out, Jorginho topped the scoring charts with seven goals in total, each of those coming from the penalty spot.

Simon Kjaer and the medical team who acted rapidly to tend to Christian Eriksen following a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 have been recognised with the 2021 UEFA President's Award.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's opener against Finland in June, with Kjaer the first on the scene to place his team-mate in the recovery position before leading his side to form a protective screen while the Inter man received treatment.

The 29-year-old was subsequently taken to hospital, where he was fitted with a pacemaker before returning home, though it remains unclear if he will ever play again, despite visiting Inter's training ground in August.

For Kjaer's exemplary leadership, the centre-back – along with eight medics – have been hailed as the "true heroes of Euro 2020" and presented with the award by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.

"This year, the President’s Award transcends football," Ceferin said.

"It serves as an important and eternal reminder of just how precious life is and puts everything in our lives into the clearest perspective.

"I would also like to send my very best wishes to Christian Eriksen and his family as he continues his recovery."

After Kjaer had performed the initial CPR, the medical team responded quickly, resuscitating Eriksen before taking him off the pitch on a stretcher to rush him to hospital.

"We rushed to the field to help [Christian] and to do our job," said Mogens Kreutzfeldt, chief medical officer for Euro 2020 in Copenhagen.

"We did what we should, what we were taught, what we were trained to do.

"Everybody knew their role, everybody knew what to do.

"We were not emotional at the scene. Afterwards, we were, of course, like everybody. We're very happy and proud of the outcome."

Jorginho and Roberto Mancini could cap a golden year for Italy by landing UEFA honours after both were shortlisted for top awards on Thursday, though Manchester City duo Kevin De Bruyne and Pep Guardiola could spoil the Azzurri's party.

Azzurri midfielder Jorginho won the Champions League with Chelsea and followed that by helping his country to Euro 2020 glory, under the leadership of coach Mancini.

Jorginho, 29, is joined on the three-man shortlist for UEFA Men's Player of the Year by Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante, a standout in the Champions League final, and by City playmaker De Bruyne.

Kante played for France at Euro 2020 and De Bruyne featured for Belgium, but neither side made the progress many anticipated, with Les Bleus eliminated in the last 16 and the Red Devils bowing out to Italy in the quarter-finals.

The three players received the most votes from a panel consisting of the 24 head coaches at Euro 2020, the 80 coaches from the Champions League and Europa League group stages, and journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.

The Men's Coach of the Year shortlist consists of the two coaches from the Champions League final, Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel and City's Guardiola, plus Italy boss Mancini.

It means there is no place for Gareth Southgate, who guided England to their first major men's final since the 1966 World Cup. He finished seventh in voting, UEFA announced, behind Villarreal's Europa League winning boss Unai Emery, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and former Inter coach Antonio Conte.

Like Guardiola, both Simeone and Conte led their club sides to domestic league title success.

The winner of each award will be announced at UEFA's Champions League group stage draw on August 26 in Istanbul.

Barcelona had a clean sweep of the players shortlisted for the Women's Player of the Year prize, following their Spanish league and cup and Champions League treble.

The Spanish duo of Jennifer Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were joined on the list by Dutch club-mate Lieke Martens.

UEFA's women's awards stem from votes from each of the coaches in the Champions League last 16 and the leading 12 coaches according to UEFA's national team rankings, plus a pool of 20 journalists.

Former Barcelona boss Lluis Cortes is joined on that list by Chelsea's Emma Hayes and Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson.

Simon Kjaer insisted he is "not a hero" for his quick-thinking actions to save Christian Eriksen, who collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest in Denmark's Euro 2020 opener.

In concerning scenes in Copenhagen against Finland in June, Eriksen received CPR on the pitch with his team-mates forming a protective screen around him.

The Denmark midfielder has subsequently been fitted with a pacemaker and encouragingly returned to Inter's training ground in August – Eriksen's health being "the only thing that matters" to Kjaer.

Kjaer was one of the first to the scene and prevented Eriksen from swallowing his own tongue as he placed his team-mate into the recovery position.

The centre-back was hailed as a saviour but he told Corriere della Sera: "I'm not a hero, I just did what I had to do, without thinking, like anyone else would.

"Then what happened, happened. I was ready to remain lucid, like all my team-mates. It was a team effort, obviously we would have done the same if he had been an opponent.

"Instinct guided me, and I did what I had to, automatically. It was the first time this happened to me, I hope it’s the last, too.

"That’s all. The only thing that matters is that Christian is fine now. That's the only important thing. I did it without thinking."

It remains unclear if Eriksen will be able to play in Italy again due to the national restrictions on people playing with ICDs – a device connected to the heart to regulate abnormal rhythms.

However, Eriksen could feature in other European countries, as seen by the example of Daley Blind, who still features for Ajax despite an ICD fitting in 2019.

Kjaer's focus remains firmly on Serie A with Milan and, after Stefano Pioli credited the Denmark international as a leader, the Rossoneri fans want the defender to take the armband.

"We already have a captain and his name is [Alessandro] Romagnoli," the 32-year-old responded to questions over the captaincy.

"There is great harmony and sportiness between us. I don't care about the armband. I do my best always and in any case.

"There is harmony, unity [at Milan]. But above all there is a desire to work. Because without work, there is no improvement.

"A team like Milan has the duty to aim for the maximum. This is the only way to grow. I've never won a championship and I'd like to do it with Milan. [It] would be a dream."

Paris Saint-Germain's new goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma believes he needed to move away from Milan to grow as a player.

Donnarumma left Milan upon the expiration of his contract at the end of June, subsequently joining Ligue 1 giants PSG on a free transfer.

The 22-year-old – who made his Milan debut at the age of 16 in 2015 – is one of five star recruits PSG have made this transfer window, with Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldium and, of course, Lionel Messi also arriving at the Parc des Princes to bolster an already remarkable squad.

After making 30 Serie A appearances in 2015-16, Donnarumma missed just five league games for Milan over the past five campaigns, establishing himself as one of the world's best goalkeepers.

He only helped his reputation at Euro 2020, playing a starring role as Italy won the competition – indeed, Donnarumma made two saves in the penalty shoot-out victory over England in the final on July 11.

While he awaits his PSG debut having only just resumed training following an extended break, Donnarumma revealed his reasons for leaving Milan.

"I spent eight years at Milan, it was my home, I experienced wonderful moments there," he told Corriere dello Sport.

"Milan still excites me today, I have great respect for the people who work there and for the fans. But life is made up of choices, we had different ambitions.

"I will always be a fan of Milan. Eight years are not forgotten, but I needed to change to grow, to improve and become the strongest. I felt the need for new spaces, for a new reality."

Donnarumma also insisted the decision to leave the Rossoneri was his alone, with agent Mino Raiola having little influence.

"There are decisions that have a maturity. I have always made my career choices alone, my family has always left me free and supported me," Donnarumma continued.

"Mino did the same. He respects the wishes of his clients 100 per cent, then of course he does everything to satisfy their requests. I left Milan and I had no contact with other teams, I swear, but I was sure that with a good Euros, someone would show up."

With three of their new additions, along with star names such as Marco Verratti, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Marquinhos, yet to feature, PSG have nevertheless made a winning start to their first full Ligue 1 campaign under Mauricio Pochettino, though they did lose the Trophee des Champions to Lille, who won the top flight last term.

Donnarumma, though, knows PSG's true goal comes in the form of European glory.

"Last season, the team did not win Ligue 1 but the real objective is different – the Champions League," he said.

Donnarumma's switch to Paris does raise some questions, as PSG already had a superb goalkeeper in the form of Keylor Navas.

Both played 45 games in all competitions for their clubs last term, though Navas conceded 36 goals, 14 fewer than Donnarumma's tally of 50.

Donnarumma did face more shots (561 compared to 503), yet Navas' save percentage was still noticeably better – the former Real Madrid shot-stopper keeping out 79.55 per cent of the attempts he faced, in contrast to a rate of 68.55 from his new team-mate.

Navas saved three penalties, with Donnarumma making one save from a spot-kick, while the Italy international also made two errors leading to goals – his Costa Rican counterpart, on the other hand, made none.

In terms of distribution, the players are similar, with Donnarumma tallying up more passes (1,310) though with a slightly lower accuracy (79.08 per cent compared to Navas' 80.23 from 1,123 attempts).

On the subject of competing with such a high-quality goalkeeper for the number one shirt, Donnarumma said: "It's an additional motivation, something that fascinates me."

Denzel Dumfries is relishing the chance to impress at Inter after the right-back joined the Serie A champions from PSV.

Inter confirmed the signing of Dumfries shortly after revealing striker Edin Dzeko had completed his switch from domestic rivals Roma.

Dumfries, who was impressive for the Netherlands at Euro 2020, scoring twice during the tournament, is believed to have been purchased for a fee of €12.5million plus add ons.

The 25-year-old has signed a four-year deal with the Nerazzurri.

Dumfries appears set to be the like-for-like replacement for Achraf Hakimi, who was sold to Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the transfer window.

Hakimi's sale was required as Inter looked to ease financial difficulties. The club have also seen star striker Romelu Lukaku depart to Chelsea for a reported £97.5m (€115m).

"The feeling is amazing," Dumfries told Inter TV. "I'm very happy to join the champions of Italy. It's a big opportunity for me and I'm happy to be here.

"I'm a wide defender and I like to attack a lot. I think I'll fit in at Inter as they play with five at the back, as I have done with the Netherlands.

"I know which Dutch players have played here before. It's an honour to join them on the list.

"I hope we can have a great season, maybe win another league title and do well in the Champions League. I can't wait to get started."

Dumfries excelled for Frank de Boer's Netherlands team at Euro 2020, despite the Oranje's disappointing exit to the Czech Republic in the round of 16.

Playing as a wing-back, Dumfries started all four of his country's matches, playing 315 minutes in total.

Inter look set to continue with a back three under new boss Simone Inzaghi, who used a similar system at Lazio, meaning Dumfries will likely slot straight into the role that Hakimi occupied last term.

Dumfries has big shoes to fill, though. Hakimi played in 37 league matches in 2020-21, with only Lautaro Martinez (38) featuring more in the top flight under Antonio Conte during the campaign.

Hakimi scored seven times, a total only bettered in Inter's ranks by Martinez (17) and Lukaku (24), while he also provided eight assists.

His crossing was a particular threat, registering an accuracy of 25.52 per cent from 145 crosses from open play. Based on Euro 2020, this is something that Dumfries will need to improve, given none of his six crosses were classed as successful.

However, his presence in the area was often enough to help the Netherlands break down defences, and only Memphis Depay (24) had more touches in the opposition box than Dumfries.

Dumfries also contested (58) and won (28) more duels than any other Dutch player at Euro 2020, recording a success rate of 48.28 per cent, a figure that is not dissimilar to Hakimi's rate of 50.05 per cent from 333 duels in Serie A last season.

Page 1 of 44
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.