Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he will only consider retirement when there is someone better to take his place.

The 40-year-old experienced something of a European renaissance after returning to Milan from the LA Galaxy in January 2020, scoring 33 goals in 55 Serie A appearances since then.

However, 20 of those goals came in 2020 alone, with Ibrahimovic subsequently dealing with a succession of fitness issues.

The Sweden international says he wants to play as long as he can, though, which means continuing until another player deserves to be picked ahead of him.

"The future is yet to be written. I don't plan. Let's see what happens," Ibrahimovic told UEFA.com.

"I don't want to regret stopping football and then saying that I could continue to play football, because then I'd regret it for the rest of my life, seeing that I could have continued.

"I want to play as long as I can. The reality is I'll play until I see that someone is better than me, so I'm still playing."

Despite being limited to 18 appearances in the league this season, Ibrahimovic is Milan's joint-top scorer alongside Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud with eight goals.

Ibrahimovic also shared the scoring burden in Milan's last successful Scudetto charge, netting 14 times in 2010-11 – a tally matched by Alexandre Pato and Robinho – while supplying 11 assists.

Although he has continued to perform at an elite level in the intervening years, the veteran striker knows his incredible career must eventually come to an end.

"I know one day it will stop, and I won't have that adrenaline anymore," Ibrahimovic said. "This is a problem for every football player because you have adrenaline when you play football.

"That adrenaline, you will never get in doing something else because we are programmed."

Paul Pogba has one foot out of the door at Manchester United, going on the record this week to say he has been disappointed by his five seasons with the Red Devils.

With his contract set to expire in June, the 29-year-old will have plenty of suitors from all over Europe.

While he is expected to sign with an established Champions League contender, Premier League sides Newcastle United and Aston Villa are reportedly assessing if the France international has any interest in remaining in England.

TOP STORY - POGBA TO STAY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

While away on international duty, Pogba spoke to French media about how his time at Manchester United has fallen short of expectations.

He spoke about how he has been depressed at times throughout his latest near six-year stint in England, and went on to describe the current season as "dead", pointing to his ambition to win trophies in the future.

It seems likely that Pogba's future will be at another club, and while it is widely reported that the favourites to attain Pogba's services are European giants Juventus, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain, The Sun is reporting that Newcastle and Aston Villa are "monitoring the situation".

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Milan are considering a summer move for Chelsea's Jorginho after his agent declared it would be a "dream" to return to Italy. "Today he can play in four or five teams: AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Roma or Napoli," agent Joao Santos declared this week.

- The Evening Standard is reporting that Declan Rice would prefer to move to Chelsea as opposed to Manchester United after West Ham reportedly placed a £150million price tag on the English midfielder to try and fend off circling clubs.

- Tottenham's Harry Kane was non-committal when asked about his future at the club, with The Daily Mirror reporting there is interest in reuniting the striker with former boss Mauricio Pochettino if he is to secure the top job at Manchester United.

- UOL is reporting that Barcelona are set to make it a three-horse race for young Ajax star Antony after Dani Alves recommended the Barca hierarchy should match the bids of Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Franck Kessie will not stay in Serie A, but instead will be forming part of Xavi's rebuild at Barcelona.

After a long contract saga at Milan, the Ivorian midfielder will reportedly leave the Serie A title contenders at the end of the season on a free transfer.

The 25-year-old will be the last player to leave from Milan's notorious splurge of 2017, which saw the club nearly break the €200million mark on over 10 players.

TOP STORY – KESSIE SET FOR BARCELONA MOVE 

Those who have followed Franck Kessie's contract situation with Milan will be aware a €6.5million salary was his reported benchmark. Milan have been reticent to pay that figure gross, but Barcelona are said to be willing to pay it net.

Protracted contract renegotiations between Kessie and Milan have failed to come to a resolution, and while  Ismael Bennacer and Sandro Tonali become more central to Stefano Pioli's plans, letting Kessie go has seen increased scope.

According to the Guardian, Kessie will leave the Rossoneri at the end of the season on a Bosman and join Barcelona with a contract that will last until 2026.

ROUND-UP

- According to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus are preparing a substantial package to lure 29-year-old Mohamed Salah away from Liverpool.

- Having started on the bench with Karim Benzema injured in El Clasico, Luka Jovic is not considered as a requirement going forward at Real Madrid and will leave the club in the summer, as reported by Marca.

- Brazilian winger Raphinha has rejected Leeds United's first approach over a new contract, per UOL.

- Former Manchester United and Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is tipped as the frontrunner to take over as coach at another former club of his, PSV, according to the Mirror.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "enjoying the adventure" of Anthony Elanga's development, as the pair prepare to team up for Sweden in this month's World Cup qualifiers.

The veteran Milan striker and young Manchester United forward could both come into play for Janne Andersson's side in their play-off campaign in UEFA qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Sweden face the Czech Republic and, if victorious, will play Poland for a spot at this year's tournament, though Ibrahimovic is suspended for the first encounter.

Even if he is restricted to a spectator role, the attacker is looking forward to seeing his compatriot in action, sharing memories of their first meeting when together at Old Trafford.

"We're all happy and we're enjoying the adventure he is on," Ibrahimovic said.

"He just started and he's on the way up so it's good. You will have something to watch for another 20 years,

"First time I met him, we were in the restaurant in the [United] training ground. He came up to me and he said, 'you know my father'.

"I was like, help me now because I don't know who I'm talking to. 'You played with my father Elanga', and then everything clicked and I said 'OK'.

"It made me happy because I wasn't the only Swedish one in Manchester, we had another Swedish player.

Ibrahimovic played alongside Elanga's father Joseph, a former Cameroon international, during his formative years at Malmo in his home country.

Elanga was born in Malmo in 2002. The United winger would have been eligible to play for Cameroon and England, in addition to Sweden, but opted for the Blue and Yellow after representing them at youth level.

 

Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic fears the thought of retiring and says he may "disappear completely" once his playing career comes to an end.

Ibrahimovic turned 40 in October but remains a key part of Milan's squad and is reportedly in talks over signing a new contract beyond the end of this season.

The former Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United star has struggled with injuries this term, yet he has still featured 22 times in all competitions for Milan.

As well as helping to steer Milan to a first Scudetto since 2011, Ibrahimovic is also hoping to help Sweden to the 2022 World Cup after reversing his retirement decision last year.

And while he is still being called upon for club and country, Ibrahimovic does not intend to hang up his boots.

"I have this fear about retirement: what will happen next? I know I will have other possibilities and offers," he said at a news conference on Tuesday while away on Sweden duty.

"But this adrenaline I feel on the pitch, I know I won't find that anywhere else. That's why I'm having this panic. I'll carry on as much as possible and just enjoy it.

"We'll see when the time comes. I could take a break or disappear completely.

"We are programmed to wake up, train, go home and rest. This goes on for 20-25 years, but one day I'll wake up and have nothing planned. That will be a strange feeling."

 

Ibrahimovic is suspended for Sweden's World Cup qualifying play-off tie against the Czech Republic, but he will be available for the final against Poland should his side advance.

Sweden have called up Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga for the first time, a player who is 21 years younger than Ibrahimovic.

But while hopes are high for Elanga and what he can bring to the national team, Ibrahimovic joked his country will not come close to replacing him once he retires for good.

Sat alongside new team-mate Elanga, Ibrahimovic said: "Enjoy it while I'm on the pitch, because you won't see anything like it again.

"You'll see Elanga, I say that with all due respect, but you won't see Ibrahimovic any more, so enjoy while you can."

As well as representing Milan, Barca, PSG and United, Ibrahimovic has also played for Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter and Los Angeles Galaxy across a 23-year career.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli wants to "write a new page of history" as the Rossoneri chase a first Scudetto in 11 years.

Pioli's side sit three points clear at the Serie A summit after edging past Cagliari 1-0 on Saturday, their third consecutive victory by that scoreline.

Fellow title contenders Napoli and Inter remain in close company, with Luciano Spalletti's team three points back and the defending champions six adrift, albeit with a game in hand.

Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus are also just seven behind the league leaders as Milan nudge towards a first Serie A title since the 2010-11 campaign.

While his players continue to deliver on the pitch, Pioli was keen to credit his relationship with the club's former centre-back and current technical director Paolo Maldini as the pair look to lay their marker on Italian football.

"I'm lucky to talk to him daily, he's an indispensable point of reference," Pioli said at the Expo 2020 in United Arab Emirates, which he is attending with Milan's academy. 

"I've always said that I’ve been lucky enough to coach a great group, players who perfectly embody the values of this club. Together, we are trying to write a new page in history.

"After just a few days at Milan, I felt something that I'd never felt anywhere else, I felt immediately at home. That's what Milan is for me: home. Pressure is part of my job, but it is also motivating because it reminds me that I can always do better.

"During a journey there may be moments when you slow down, but the important thing is to keep going and never stop.

"Our goal is to make our fans happy. That is why we play. We are fortunate to have extraordinary supporters and we will never stop thanking them because their passion has always been contagious."

Veteran duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud have been integral both off and on the pitch for Milan, and Pioli heaped praise on the pair for their influence this season.

"Milan needs everyone. Zlatan and Olivier know what it means to win and the sacrifices needed to achieve great results. I think this team has great potential," he added.

"We've never ruled out anything, but this is my current opinion, let's collect more points than last season, let's play every game as if it were absolutely decisive and then see where we end up."

Milan will look to continue their title charge after the international break when they host Bologna on Monday, April 4.

France head coach Didier Deschamps is focused on the present and not concerned by the future after calling up Olivier Giroud to replace Karim Benzema.

Giroud has not featured for Les Blues since their exit to Switzerland at Euro 2020 last June, but the 35-year-old has come back into contention after an injury to Benzema.

The Milan striker sits just five goals behind Thierry Henry in France's all-time scoring charts after netting 46 times in 110 games.

Though Giroud was omitted from Deschamps' recent squads, he now has a chance to impress in friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa.

Deschamps, speaking at Monday's news conference, was keen to turn the attention away from Giroud as he insisted the former Arsenal and Chelsea forward does not have to prove himself.

"The most important thing for me is to be consistent and fair in my speech with the players, whether it's Olivier or others," he told reporters.

"Olivier is going to join us, and he doesn't have to do more or less. He was part of this team that was successful, it was also without him, and he remains selectable, as I have always said. 

"But don't ask me about the future. Of course, his presence is linked to Karim's injury. But there is no particular attention around him, he is part of the group."

Asked whether Benzema and Giroud could feature together down the line, Deschamps added: "It's not a question of relationships, there's competition, too, but it goes further than that. 

"History shows it is always a great difficulty for a player who has a status that he deserved to have, to no longer have this status. 

"It is very difficult to live with, not to say impossible. But it's human and it's not specific to Olivier. It's more complex. I did not call him to tell him that he will have 30 per cent playing time and see how he reacts. 

"He can accept anything, it's only ten days, but again, I don't want to make a case apart, and there have been quite a few in this case. 

"A player who has status needs to have an important role. I am convinced of that."

Arsenal's William Saliba, who is currently on loan at Marseille, has also been handed a late call-up after Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard withdrew.

"We have been following him for a while, I talk a lot with Sylvain Ripoll [France's Under-21 coach], who has known since the weekend, just in case," Deschamps said of Saliba. 

"The schedule meant that William was playing last night [Sunday], so I waited until after the match to make his call-up official, but what he does in the Under-23s and for his club, in a system that is not identical but similar, is interesting. 

"He is a good defender, fast, who has a good heading game, and exudes a lot of calmness in his play."

Deschamps stressed that France's upcoming friendlies are important, while he was glad to not be in the position of Portugal and Italy, who will battle for World Cup qualification in the play-offs.

"I know that many players have had very important matches before and will have very important ones after," he added. "It will be full in Marseille, full in Lille, and it is our duty to be efficient. 

"You think that these two friendlies have little value, but I know very well that we have to win them, because otherwise, they will increase in importance. 

"And I prefer to be in my place than in the place of my Italian and Portuguese counterparts. I am happy to be among the 14 nations that have already qualified [for Qatar]!"

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli insisted "four teams can still win the Scudetto" after his side moved back to the top of Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Cagliari, which was marred by abuse directed at Mike Maignan.

The Rossoneri dominated for large parts on Saturday, but a lack of clinical finishing left them frustrated until just before the hour.

Ismael Bennacer stepped up with an exquisite volley into the bottom-left corner to edge Milan past Walter Mazzarri's side, who spurned two great opportunities through Joao Pedro and Keita Balde in response.

Victory meant Milan restored their three-point lead over Napoli, who defeated Udinese 2-1 earlier on Saturday, and they are six ahead of defending champions Inter, who have played a game fewer, after they were held by Fiorentina.

Juventus could cut the gap on the leaders to seven when they host Salernitana on Sunday, and Pioli believes the Scudetto race is far from over with eight games remaining for his side.

"Every game is an important crossroads now. I liked the team, even when we didn't score in the first half, as we played with quality and intensity," Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.

"Cagliari caused us problems, but that's inevitable when you have two teams with such strong motivation."

Milan's triumph was their third straight win by a 1-0 scoreline and, while delighted with the result, Pioli would look to see his team be more ruthless in front of goal.

"We would like to score more and went close again several times today, but the important thing is to win," he added.

"We're doing great things, but we also know there are four sides that could still win the Scudetto. There's no point looking too far ahead, there's a long way to go and we need to concentrate only on our own path."

Milan's win was tainted, however. There was a commotion between the players after the final whistle, and Pioli confirmed that goalkeeper Mike Maignan had made claims he was racially abused by some Cagliari fans.

"Mike told me there was racist abuse from behind the goal," Pioli responded when asked about the scenes at full-time.

"It's always sad when these things happen, nobody deserves that."

Ismael Bennacer delivered the decisive second-half strike as Milan restored their three-point lead at the Serie A summit with a 1-0 victory at Cagliari on Saturday.

Napoli edged past Udinese to move level on points with Stefano Pioli's side earlier in the day, although fellow title contenders Inter were held to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina.

Milan responded to those results with a vital victory despite an unconvincing performance at the Unipol Domus, with Bennacer's sumptuous volley from outside the area just before the hour mark proving the difference.

A third consecutive 1-0 win keeps the Rossoneri ahead of Napoli and widens the gap to Inter to six points, albeit the defending champions have a game in hand.

 

Olivier Giroud miscued a presentable chance on the volley in the opening stages following a headed pass by Junior Messias, while Franck Kessie struck the post with a low drive.

Milan continued to control first-half proceedings, but Alberto Grassi provided a scare when he drilled narrowly wide.

Although the sides headed in goalless at the interval, Pioli's visitors persisted following the restart, with Theo Hernandez's ambitious long-range effort forcing an acrobatic Alessio Cragno stop. 

Milan's reward for their efforts arrived shortly after when Giroud teed up Bennacer to expertly volley into the bottom-left corner, as the Rossoneri scored in a 15th consecutive away league game – equalling the club-record top-flight run they achieved in the 1967-68 season.

Joao Pedro wastefully sliced over in response, but Cragno kept his side in the game with a smart save from Giroud that could have proved crucial had Matteo Lovato not headed wide before Keita Balde struck the crossbar – misses that instead secured a big win for Milan in the Scudetto chase.

Olivier Giroud has been handed a recall by France and a chance to put himself firmly back in Didier Deschamps' World Cup plans.

The Milan striker has not featured in a match for France since Les Bleus exited Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland last June.

He has 46 goals for his country in 110 games, which puts him only five strikes behind Thierry Henry on the team's all-time list.

It appeared Giroud's international career might be over as coach Deschamps opted against calling him into recent squads.

However, a calf injury sustained by Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, ruling him out of Sunday's game against Barcelona, has led to Giroud landing a summons to join up with France for the upcoming friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa.

The French Football Federation announced the news on its website, adding that the France staff wished Benzema "a swift recovery".

Deschamps spoke about Giroud after excluding him from a 23-player squad on Thursday, pointing to the 35-year-old's impressive form for Milan.

Giroud has helped Milan top Serie A, scoring eight goals in 20 games in the league, ahead of Saturday's trip to face Cagliari.

Assessing Giroud, Deschamps said: "It's going well for him at the moment. He's scoring important goals with Milan. I'm happy for him.

"I've got decisions to make. I know what Olivier is capable of doing with us. He remains available to France even if I haven't called him up for this get-together."

Now, though, Giroud comes into the picture once again, eight months out from the World Cup in Qatar.

France play Ivory Coast in Marseille on March 25, and South Africa in Lille four days later.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been heavily linked with an early exit from Manchester United this season.

The Red Devils are out of the Premier League title race and struggling to make the top four.

There is said to be tension surrounding Ronaldo due to Ralf Rangnick's appointment as interim manager.

TOP STORY - RONALDO RE-COMMITS TO MAN UTD

Ronaldo will stay with United next season with interim manager Rangnick set to depart, reports AS.

The 37-year-old forward has committed to United, whom he joined in August on a two-year deal with the option for a third season, as he is confident they will show their ambition by making a major appointment with their new permanent manager.

United were eliminated from the Champions League this week by Atletico Madrid and are struggling to reach next season's edition, sitting fifth in the Premier League.

ROUND-UP

- Jesse Lingard has been offered to Italian clubs Milan and Roma as he prepares to leave United as a free agent, reports Nicolo Schira. West Ham  and Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old England international.

- Benfica have slapped a £67million price tag on striker  Darwin Nunez , who is being pursued by Manchester United , Arsenal , Liverpool and Newcastle ,   according to The Mirror.

- Foot Mercato reports  Arsenal will enter the race to sign Real Madrid winger  Eden Hazard , with Chelsea previously linked to their former player.

- Fichajes claims  Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Athletic Bilbao head coach Marcelino should Diego Simeone opt to leave the Spanish champions.

Mohamed Salah is arguably the best player in the world on current form, though Liverpool have not yet tied him down to a new deal.

Talks over fresh terms for the 29-year-old have been ongoing for some time, but nothing is close to being agreed.

With his contract up in 2023, Salah could become one of the most sought-after free agents.

 

TOP STORY – MO HAPPY TO WAIT

According to Fabrizio Romano, Salah is perfectly happy at Liverpool and is not considering pushing through a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid or Barcelona.

However, there has been no further progress on the contract talks.

Salah, who has scored 28 goals already this season across all competitions, remains fully focused on Liverpool but could leave on a free transfer at the end of next season.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland will demand that a release clause is included in his contract should he sign for Manchester City, reports The Sun. The Daily Mail suggested a deal was close.

- Bundesliga reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft, however, has claimed that Haaland is of interest to Bayern Munich, who may be faced with the prospect of losing Robert Lewandowski.

- Bayern are also said to be interested in Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest. That is according to a report by Fichajes.

- Foot Mercato say that Neymar will be offered back to Barcelona, as Paris Saint-Germain prepare for a "shake up" ahead of next season.

- Juventus and Milan, meanwhile, are interested in Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to Calciomercato.

Manchester City's search for a permanent striker appears to be ramping up, with a deal for Erling Haaland reportedly in the works.

City have not been able to properly replace Sergio Aguero despite leading the Premier League, and Haaland looks to be their primary target.

Details and discussion of the deal already appear to be in advanced stages, and City look to be best placed to sign the Norwegian.


TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR MAN CITY SWITCH

According to the Daily Mail, Haaland is set to move to Manchester City at the end of season, with personal terms already discussed and the framework for the deal already green-lit by City decision makers.

Haaland's father Alf-Inge played for the club but more importantly, City appear willing to meet Borussia Dortmund's release clause of £63million (€75.1million). 

The 21-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, would also be set to earn a significant portion of the transfer fee per reports, meaning the total outlay will reach nine figures.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have shown keen interest in the Norwegian striker, but the Premier League leaders look to be in pole position.

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- Barcelona are looking at Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak as an alternative in the event they don't manage to sign Haaland from Dortmund . According to El Nacional, Xavi is an admirer of the 22-year-old Swedish striker, but they would face competition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal .

- Milan are set to make an offer for Mamadou Coulibaly from Monaco. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Rossoneri scout Geoffrey Moncada is particularly keen on the 17-year-old, who will be leaving Monaco at the end of the season.

- According to reports from Calciomercato, Napoli will look to begin talks with Sassuolo for talented attacker Hamed Junior Traore soon. Following the expiry of Juventus' right of first refusal clause, reports also say the Partenopei will want to move quickly.

- Real Madrid are close to confirming a contract extension for Luka Modric, per Marca reports, but are unwavering in their plans to offload Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco at the end of the season.

Milan coach Stefano Pioli downplayed the importance of his side's 1-0 win over Empoli, insisting there are many twists remaining in the Serie A title race. 

Pierre Kalulu's superb 19th-minute goal was enough to win a tight affair for Milan at San Siro, stretching their unbeaten run to seven league matches.

Kalulu's long-range strike made him Milan's 16th different scorer in this Serie A campaign, with only Fiorentina and Atalanta (both 17) possessing more, as the hosts went five points clear of rivals Inter, although the Nerazzurri have two games in hand.

Pioli was pleased with how his side managed a tense encounter, but he acknowledged there was room for improvement after Milan registered just three shots in a dour second half.

Milan created chances worth just 0.88 expected goals, with Kalulu's winning goal the Rossoneri's 10th from outside the area this season – a tally unbeaten in the top five European leagues.

"Our opponents [in the title race, Inter and Napoli] have to play tomorrow, there are still games to catch up," Pioli told Sky Sport.

"I think it would be much more regular if everyone had played the [same number of] games, then it is clear.

"But today it was a complicated game and we managed it well. We found an opponent who put us in difficulty, but in the defensive phase we conceded very little.

"At the beginning of the second half we lost a few balls, because in my opinion there was too little movement. 

"It is clear that we are always thinking about improving things, but it is equally true that having failed to dominate the game, we didn't risk anything [defensively]. 

"I'm sure that the more we go on, the better we will improve. Now the goals for everyone are maximum, so the effort must certainly be high."

"[Juventus are] inside [the title race]," the 56-year-old said. "Nine games [remaining] are a lot, 27 points are a lot. 

"All the top five are definitely inside [the race]."

Milan moved five points clear at the Serie A summit with a 1-0 win over Empoli, as Pierre Kalulu's stunner settled a cagey match at San Siro.

French defender Kalulu netted a superb first-half opener for the Rossoneri, who restricted Empoli to just one shot in the first 45 minutes during a dominant showing.

Although the visitors improved after the break, they struggled to create clear-cut chances against the title challengers, as Milan took an important three points from a tight affair.

The result gave Stefano Pioli's men breathing space at the top of Serie A, while Empoli remain without a win in 2022.

Milan were denied an early lead when Guglielmo Vicario saved well from Alessandro Florenzi's curling effort, and they again went close when the ball ricocheted off Sandro Tonali and rolled wide.

But the hosts did hit the front on 19 minutes when Kalulu finished brilliantly from the edge of the area, firing home with his left instep after the ball deflected to him.

However, Mike Maignan was forced into two stops within five minutes of the restart, turning Sebastiano Luperto's header around the post before punching Nedim Bajrami's goal-bound corner away.

Two tame Junior Messias shots, both drawing routine saves from Vicario, were the sum of Milan's efforts for much of a dull second half in which chances were at a premium.

However, Milan's solid defensive display was enough to hand them the victory and strengthen their position in one of Europe's closest title races.

 

What does it mean? Rossoneri claim vital win in Scudetto hunt

With rivals Inter travelling to Torino on Sunday, Milan have, at least for the time being, established a five-point lead at the top of Serie A.

The Rossoneri are now unbeaten in seven league games, earning four wins and three draws, as they hit form at the ideal time in the hunt for a first league title since 2011.

They must now hope Inter drop points in their two games in hand.

Landmark goal for coach Pioli

Kalulu's fantastic opener was his first goal of the season and was also a landmark moment for Milan boss Pioli.

The 56-year-old, who is looking for the first league title of his career, became just the seventh coach to see his teams score 600 Serie A goals in the three-points-for-a-win era.

Milan improve record against strugglers

Milan's title challenge has, at times, been held back by an inability to beat lowly opponents in Serie A. This win represented just their third victory in their past seven games against bottom-half teams.

Meanwhile, the result represented a third successive win for the Rossoneri against Empoli, after they only won two of the previous seven head-to-head meetings (four draws and one defeat).

What's next?

The Rossoneri's next Serie A fixture takes them to Cagliari in a week's time, while Empoli will host Verona in league action the following day.

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