Atletico Madrid were eliminated from Europe in midweek after a 2-1 loss at Porto and are looking to bolster their squad.

One player who could be sold is Joao Felix, who Atleti signed for €126million from Benfica on a seven-year deal in 2019.

The Portuguese forward has underwhelmed this season, with only two goals, and has been unsettled at times.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO WILLING TO LISTEN TO JOAO FELIX OFFERS

Cadena SER claims Atletico Madrid have put Joao Felix on the market and are open to offers for him.

Bayern Munich were rumoured to have made a €100m off-season move for Felix, while Manchester United reportedly had a €130m bid turned down in August.

Fichajes reported last month that the 22-year-old had handed in a transfer request, while Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have been linked with him recently.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are getting proactive in the pursuit of Palmeiras' 16-year-old talent Endrick, sending officials to Brazil to commence talks over a deal, claims Marca. Endrick cannot officially join Madrid until he is 18-years-old but Los Blancos are eager to get an agreement in place.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton and Brentford are all monitoring Lyon's Brazilian winger Tete, according to The Sun.

– Diario Sport reports Barcelona want to sign Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez as a replacement for the retiring Gerard Pique.

Leicester are weighing up their options for a Youri Tielemans replacement, keeping tabs on Lorient midfielder Enzo Le Fee, reports 90min.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport reports veteran French forward Olivier Giroud will be rewarded with a new Milan contract after the World Cup. The new deal will run until 2024.

Stefano Pioli wants to see Milan enjoy a deep run in the Champions League after the Rossoneri sealed their progress from Group E in emphatic fashion.

A defeat to Salzburg on Wednesday would have seen Milan crash out, but there was never any danger of that at San Siro as Olivier Giroud scored a double and added assists for Rade Krunic and Junior Messias in a 4-0 triumph that sealed second place in the group, behind Chelsea.

Pioli, who signed a contract extension earlier this week, was delighted with his team's performance as they qualified for the knockout stages for the first time since 2013-14, though he wants his players to kick on and reach the later rounds of the competition.

"This is only the first step," Pioli told reporters. "We must not stop mentally.

"We must not be happy to have reached the second round, but aim to go further. This group is hungry and wants to do everything possible and even more.

"We are the Italian champions, we are not here by chance. I have strong players, whoever draws us will face a strong team."

At 36, Giroud became the oldest player to score a Champions League double for Milan since Filippo Inzaghi did so against Real Madrid in 2010, with the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker also setting up Milan's other two goals.

Since Opta have collected such data for the Champions League (from 2003-04), Giroud is the third-oldest player to both score and assist a goal in a match, after Didier Drogba for Chelsea v Schalke in 2014 and Edin Dzeko for Inter v Viktoria Plzen this season, and Pioli was enthused by the France international's performance. 

"He is a strong person, a great leader and a great worker," Pioli told Sky Sports.

"He does what a player of his level has to do. He is a point of reference. He is always smiling and motivated. He is helping us a lot to grow up."

Olivier Giroud scored twice and assisted two others as Milan sealed their place in the Champions League knockout stages with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Salzburg at San Siro on Wednesday.

Milan knew a point would be enough to secure their progression and Giroud's early headed finish set them on their way.

Giroud's brilliant assist allowed Rade Krunic to get on the scoresheet shortly after half-time before the former Chelsea striker fired home a loose ball in the box.

Junior Messias added further gloss late on as Milan registered consecutive Champions League wins for the first time since 2011 and eased into the knockout stages at Salzburg's expense.

Theo Hernandez almost put Milan in front inside three minutes but his low effort across goal hit the post and deflected wide.

The hosts took the lead after 14 minutes, Giroud powerfully nodding Sandro Tonali's corner into the back of the net with the help of sloppy Salzburg marking.

Giroud thought he had his second when he tapped home after Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Kohn fumbled Hernandez's shot into his path, only for the offside flag to curtail his celebrations.

Krunic made it 2-0 just after half-time with an excellent header after Giroud deftly nodded Ante Rebic's delivery back across goal to set him up.

Giroud added another in the 57th minute, smashing home after the ball rebounded kindly to him in the box.

Rafael Leao should have scored a fourth for Milan when he was picked out with a superb Hernandez cross, but his first-time effort came back off the crossbar.

Substitute Messias' curled finish in injury-time was the final dagger to Salzburg's Champions League campaign, though, as Milan cruised through.

Matteo Gabbia scored his first goal for Milan as they thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 to move just a point away from the Champions League round of 16.

Chelsea's victory at Salzburg earlier on Tuesday gave Stefano Pioli's side the chance to go second in Group E and they grasped that opportunity with both hands.

Gabbia put them in front with a first-half header and they ran away with it in the second half, with Rafael Leao doubling their lead before Olivier Giroud added a third from the penalty spot.

Robert Ljubicic's bizarre own goal summed up Dinamo's night as their hopes of qualifying were emphatically ended, while Milan only need to avoid defeat in a decisive last group match against Salzburg next week to advance.

Simon Kjaer and Charles De Ketelaere had goal-bound shots blocked in a bright start from Milan, before Gabbia came to the rescue by nodding away a Mislav Orsic header that was looping in.

Dominik Livakovic palmed away a Giroud header and Josip Misic did superbly to get in the way of a shot from Ante Rebic that looked to be heading for the back of the net, but the Serie A champions were in front 39 minutes in.

The opening goal came from an unlikely source, as Gabbia punished slack defending by diving to head home a whipped Sandro Tonali free-kick from close range.

Leao gave Milan breathing space five minutes into the second half, showing great pace to drive into the penalty area from the left all too easily and capitalise on more poor defending with a clinical right-foot finish.

Milan were cruising and they had a third goal just before the hour mark, when Ljubicic upended Tonali and Giroud's spot-kick found the top-left corner.

Things went from bad to worse for Ljubicic when Giroud failed to make contact with the livewire Leao's cutback and the ball struck the midfielder on the shoulder before flying into the back of his own net.

Sandro Tonali fired a late winner as Milan earned a 2-1 away victory over Hellas Verona to climb to third in Serie A and stay in touch with early leaders Napoli.

Stefano Pioli's visitors got themselves ahead early on when Rafael Leao's cross was diverted by Miguel Veloso into his own net, though the lead lasted just 10 minutes as Koray Gunter's shot came off Matteo Gabbia and nestled in the back of the net.

It looked as if Milan would have to settle for a draw until Tonali's cool finish in the 81st minute proved decisive.

Milan's fourth successive Serie A victory over Verona moves them up to third, just three points behind leaders Napoli as Pioli's men look to retain their title.

Milan striker Olivier Giroud believes it will be a "special game" when he lines up against former club Chelsea in the Champions League.

Giroud returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since departing the Blues on a free transfer at the end of the 2020-21 season.

The 36-year-old spent three-and-a-half years with the Premier League side; scoring 39 goals in 119 appearances across all competitions.

He notably scored 11 times - then the highest tally by a French player during a single European season - as Chelsea won the Europa League in 2019, while adding another six during their Champions League-winning campaign two years later.

And Giroud is excited to be returning to the English capital, where he also scored 105 goals in 253 appearances for Arsenal between 2012 and 2018.

"I think it'll be a special game for the team because it's a great Champions League match-up," the France international told Milan Channel.

"It's also personally for me, as I spent nine years in London playing for Arsenal and Chelsea, so I expect it to be a great game.

"It's always a pleasure when the people you met while playing for your former clubs have so much respect for you, also because I want to be seen not only as a good player on the pitch, but also a good person off it.

"I have many friends in London. Chelsea have just one point so far, so they will play aggressively and in an energetic way, aiming for the win, so we expect a tough game.

"I have a lot of hope for our Champions League journey this season. I am very proud of this squad and I think we can do well with this group of players in the Champions League.

"This match can also give the team great confidence if we win, to boost us for the next games."

Having collected four points from their opening two games, Milan will remain top of Group E with victory at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea are targeting their first win of the campaign under Graham Potter.

Head coach Stefano Pioli has urged the Rossoneri to asset their authority on the contest as they look to launch a genuine title challenge, with the most recent of their seven triumphs coming in 2007.

"Chelsea won the Champions League a short time ago. From there, it has strengthened again, and the level is very high," he said. "But we want to try to be there, at that level.

"Chelsea changed coach, and so we’ll face a highly motivated team. Very simply, either we dominate the game, or the other team will dominate us.

"We want to take control of the match, knowing full well we are up against an opponent with great quality, who have a rapid attacking unit with good technique, so we have to be solid and focused in defence.

"What matters though is that we play with our spirit and try to attack, to be dangerous, because that’s what we can do and what we want to do.”

Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud were on target as France picked up their first Nations League victory of the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Austria on Thursday.

Les Bleus faced serious injury difficulties heading into the international break, with Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante among the absentees, and often lacked fluidity at the Stade de France.

But Mbappe stepped up after 56 minutes to drive past numerous defenders and finish past Patrick Pentz before Giroud headed in to help Didier Deschamps' side to victory.

The winners of the last edition, France will now have their Nations League relegation fate in their hands, but cannot progress through Group A1 after leaders Croatia downed Denmark.

Mbappe thought he had curled France into a second-minute lead, only for the offside flag to deny him, before Jonathan Clauss forced Pentz to push over from range.

Jules Kounde was withdrawn as Les Bleus' injury woes continued before Benoit Badiashile's acrobatic effort was tipped onto the crossbar by Pentz, who denied Antoine Griezmann's close-range follow-up.

A smart passing move between Mbappe and Griezmann resulted in Clauss curling narrowly over after the interval, but France were soon ahead.

Mbappe received the ball from a driving Giroud run before powering forward into the area and firing a right-footed effort past the reach of Pentz.

Griezmann provided the second goal as his cross from the right wing found Giroud, who flicked a header into the top-left corner to secure the victory for France.

Napoli returned to the Serie A summit as Giovanni Simeone's 78th-minute header sealed a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten Milan at San Siro on Sunday.

Milan had 11 shots to Napoli's three in a dominant first half, but the visitors went ahead shortly after the break when Matteo Politano stroked home from 12 yards following Sergino Dest's clumsy foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Olivier Giroud pulled Milan level in the 69th minute, but substitute Simeone popped with the winner to seal a huge victory for Luciano Spalletti's side, who remain unbeaten in the league this season.

The result means Napoli leapfrogged Udinese and Atalanta at the top of the table, while Milan dropped down to fifth after a first Serie A defeat in 23 games.

[21:43] guyatkinson (Guest)

Milan started strongly and were denied a 13th-minute lead when Giroud's strike from 12 yards was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Alex Meret.

The Napoli goalkeeper was called into action again shortly before the half-hour mark when he pushed over Rade Krunic's header from a corner.

Napoli offered almost no attacking threat in the first half, yet they went ahead 10 minutes after the interval when Politano scored from the spot after substitute Dest had fouled Kvaratskhelia – the decision given after referee Maurizio Mariani was told to check the pitch-side monitor by VAR.

Meret denied Junior Messias soon after, before Giroud pulled Milan level with a simple finish from eight yards after fine work down the left by Theo Hernandez. 

Their joy was short-lived, however, as Simeone stole into the area to glance home Mario Rui's cross from the left wing.

Milan should have snatched a point with four minutes remaining, yet substitute Pierre Kalulu inexplicably crashed against the crossbar with only Meret to beat from eight yards.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli noted the "positive step" his team took as they earned their first win in the Champions League group stage this season against Dinamo Zagreb.

An Olivier Giroud penalty was followed by goals from Alexis Saelemaekers and substitute Tommaso Pobega, though Mislav Orsic briefly made a game of it as he pulled a goal back before the latter's late strike.

The win was Milan's first at home in the Champions League since September 2013 when they beat Celtic 2-0.

The six games without victory at San Siro was their longest run in the competition, having drawn three and lost three, but the win against their Croatian opponents on Wednesday gave the Rossoneri four points in Group E, having drawn 1-1 at Salzburg last week in their first game.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia after the game, Pioli spoke of "dreaming" but noted caution as he felt his team could still play better.

"Dreaming is beautiful, the parallel is 'dreaming at night and working during the day to be able to achieve our dreams'," he said.

"Today's victory is yet another positive step, but we can do better."

Giroud's 45th-minute penalty was just his second goal in his last 12 Champions League appearances.

The France international had only taken six shots in his previous six appearances in the competition for Milan, but got four away against Dinamo, with three on target.

Speaking to Milan TV after the game, Giroud outlined his desire to keep scoring goals in Europe's premier competition, with back-to-back games against his former club Chelsea on the horizon.

"We started the match well, we could have improved the last pass and our finishing, but we are very happy," he said.

"It is always a special emotion to play the Champions League. I am very happy because I have one more goal and I want to continue like this."

Milan earned their first win of this season's Champions League group stage, but were made to work for it by Dinamo Zagreb as the Italian champions secured a 3-1 victory at San Siro.

Goals either side of half-time from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Saelemaekers gave Stefano Pioli's men a strong lead.

They were made to sweat after Mislav Orsic – who scored the winner against Chelsea for Dinamo last week – pulled his team within one goal again with a fine finish just before the hour mark.

The Rossoneri appeared to tire in the closing stages of the game, but sealed the points when substitute Tommaso Pobega swept in a third for Milan's first home win in the Champions League since they beat Celtic in September 2013.

Milan made the early running, with Sandro Tonali and Giroud seeing early efforts sail over the crossbar, while Ismael Bennacer and Saelemaekers had shots from range easily saved by Dominik Livakovic.

A rare moment of panic from an otherwise organised Dinamo cost them when Josip Sutalo kicked through the back of Leao as he tried to intercept a pass into the area, and the referee pointed to the spot, with Giroud calmly sending Livakovic the wrong way from 12 yards, putting his penalty to the goalkeeper's left to give Milan the lead just before the break.

It did not take long in the second half for Pioli's side to double their advantage, with Leao working space down the left before standing up a cross for Saelemaekers to head in from close range for his second goal in two group stage games this season.

The game was not done though, with the dangerous Orsic playing a neat one-two with Bruno Petkovic, cutting through the Milan defence before the former placed his shot into the far corner of the net to halve the deficit.

Pobega finished well to clinch it after 77 minutes, hitting a first-time shot from Theo Hernandez's cut back in off the bar as Milan move on to four points in Group E from their first two games, a point ahead of Dinamo.

Stefano Pioli has no worries about continuing to select Olivier Giroud to lead the Milan attack in the continued absence of Divock Origi.

Giroud has played in all seven of Milan's matches so far this season, starting five of those, due to the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic and new signing Origi being injured.

Origi has managed just 80 minutes of action since arriving as a free agent in the transfer window and has yet to open his goalscoring account for the club.

Pioli had hoped to call on the ex-Liverpool striker before next week's international break, but he has been ruled out of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Dinamo Zagreb.

France international Giroud, who turns 36 later this month, is now expected to start at San Siro as he looks to add to his tally of three goals and an assist so far this term.

Milan head coach Pioli is not overly concerned by Origi's injury-plagued start to life at the club and is happy for Giroud to continue in the role.

"Olivier can play every game, and I have many other players who can also play in that position," Pioli said at Tuesday's press conference.

"I'm not worried about Origi's injury, but sorry. He is a player we strongly wanted and I'm now hoping to have him back after the [international] break."

 

Giroud has scored only one goal in his past 11 Champions League appearances, managing just eight shots in total across that period – only five of which were on target.

Milan could do with the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker stepping up on Wednesday as they aim to improve on last week's 1-1 draw away at Salzburg in their Group E opener.

However, Zagreb enter the contest in good form having won six games on the spin, including a 1-0 victory over Chelsea that leaves them top of the early standings.

"We have to put our full potential into every game," Pioli said. "Tomorrow's match is very important, but not yet decisive because there are many other matches remaining.

"We could be on top of the group with a win. We have a chance, but it will be difficult because Dinamo deservedly won the first game [against Chelsea].

"If we play at a high level, we have a good chance to win both in Italy and in Europe. We have to play at our best."

Milan withstood Rafael Leao's red card early in the second half to beat Sampdoria 2-1 and maintain their unbeaten start to the Serie A season.

Stefano Pioli's champions were dominant in the first half at Stadio Luigi Ferraris and went in at the break a goal up thanks to Junior Messias' early strike – his first of the season.

However, Leao received a second yellow card two minutes after half-time for a high foot, giving Samp the impetus to level through Filip Djuricic shortly before the hour mark.

Rather than concede again, though, Milan snatched all three points in the 67th minute when Olivier Giroud slammed in from the penalty spot after Gonzalo Villar had handled in the area.

The Rossoneri went ahead in the sixth minute when Messias finished from 12 yards following a flowing move involving Giroud and Leao, although goalkeeper Emil Audero will feel he should have done more.  

Djuricic whipped against the crossbar from 20 yards soon after, before Charles de Ketelaere was denied a first Milan goal when his bundled effort was ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR review.

Milan were dealt a blow immediately after the break when Leao received a second booking after he struck Alex Ferrari in the face when attempting an overhead kick. 

And Samp took advantage of their numerical advantage in the 57th minute when Djuricic headed home Tommaso Augello's cross inside the six-yard box.

But Milan had the final word as Giroud hit the roof of the net from 12 yards after the VAR had spotted a handball by Villar, prompting a pitchside review from referee Michael Fabbri.

Samp still came agonisingly close to rescuing a point in a late scramble as Mike Maignan twice denied Manolo Gabbiadini either side of a Fabio Quagliarella effort that struck the post.

Instead, a frustrating defeat ended with coach Marco Giampaolo sent off for remonstrating with Fabbri.

Olivier Giroud hopes to follow Zlatan Ibrahimovic's lead by playing at an elite level for several more years, as he targets a spot in Didier Deschamps' France squad for the World Cup in Qatar. 

Giroud found the net as Milan claimed a 3-2 victory over rivals Inter on Saturday, his 13th goal in just 25 Serie A starts for the Rossoneri.

The 35-year-old signed an initial two-year contract when he made the move to Italy in July 2021, but is keen to play on beyond the end of this season and has been inspired by the hunger of his fellow Milan striker Ibrahimovic. 

Speaking to Telefoot, Giroud said: "I still have the motivation and determination. I think the state of mind is important at my age. 

"I would like to continue, but only if my body will allow me. 

"I was discussing it with Ibra. For him it is the same, Zlatan is still hungry."

Ibrahimovic, 40, scored eight times as Milan ended an 11-year wait for the Scudetto last season, having also plundered 14 goals in 29 appearances when the Rossoneri were last crowned champions of Italy in 2010-11.

While Milan's Scudetto triumph represented Giroud's first league title since winning Ligue 1 with Montpellier in 2011-12, his trophy haul includes a 2018 World Cup win with France.

Giroud, who is just three goals short of matching Thierry Henry as the most prolific player in Les Bleus' history, has scored two international goals in 2022, and is keen to feature at his third World Cup later this year.

"I don't know anything honestly, also because I'm not the coach. But obviously it must be a goal," he said. 

"With my history with France, having the chance to play a third World Cup is a chance. I think, if that was not a goal, it would be nonsense. 

"The number one goal is daily life with Milan, France is still a bonus.

"If I am world champion for the second time, I will have to do something a little crazy, [like] shave my beard!"

Meanwhile, Giroud is set to be reunited with one of his former clubs next month, with Milan travelling to Chelsea in the Champions League on October 5.

The striker retains much affection for the club and believes he will receive a positive reception at Stamford Bridge, adding: "I hope for a warm welcome from Chelsea in London. I left the Blues on good terms, like all my other clubs. 

"Returning to play with Milan at Stamford Bridge is great. I think it will be a good moment."

Rafael Leao was Milan's hero in the derby against Inter and head coach Stefano Pioli says the Rossoneri are determined to tie the in-demand forward to a new deal.

Leao scored twice and provided an assist for Olivier Giroud as the Serie A champions defeated their city rivals 3-2 in an entertaining clash at San Siro on Saturday.

It was a welcome performance for Milan supporters, who had seen their star linked with a move to Premier League big-spenders Chelsea on transfer deadline day.

However, the Blues were rebuffed in their attempts to strike a deal for a player who reportedly has a €150million release clause in his contract, which runs until June 2024.

Pioli said he was never fearful Leao would depart and has now confirmed the plan is to tie the 23-year-old to a longer contract.

"These are not things that I can decide, but I believe the club wants to offer Leao a new deal soon. He is working at the best level," he told reporters.

"Rafa has beautiful attitudes, he knows that he has been gifted with talent.

"Then for the contract, whoever has to do what he has to do."

Giroud says he was always confident his Leao would stay with Milan, saying: "I was not worried about him. I knew he would remain here."

Pioli is sure there is plenty more to come from the Portugal international.

Speaking to DAZN, he said: "In order to improve, you need talent and intelligence, so Leao has both of those. We gave him the time and freedom to make mistakes so he could learn.

"Naturally, every time we put him in one-on-one situations, he's an important weapon in our armoury. 

"Rafa has a body language that might confuse people, but I can assure you he knows what potential he has and is very eager to learn."

Rafael Leao scored one and assisted another as Milan continued their unbeaten Serie A start with a dominant 2-0 victory over Bologna.

Stefano Pioli's side had to recover from a goal down in each of their opening two league games, winning one and drawing the other, but did not need another rescue act on Saturday.

Leao was a constant threat down the left flank and grabbed a deserved goal in the first half, before setting up a smart Olivier Giroud finish in the second half to cap an impressive performance.

Victory at least temporarily moved Milan to the top of the embryonic Serie A table, while the Rossoneri are now unbeaten in 19 top-flight games – the longest ongoing undefeated streak in Europe's top five leagues.

 

Pioli's men started slowly but kicked into gear after 21 minutes as Charles de Ketelaere dispossessed Jerdy Schouten and powered forward to tee up Leao, who rolled his finish into the bottom-left corner.

De Ketelaere continued to be Milan's chief creative force, chipping a delicate pass through for Pierre Kalulu, only for the defender to waste a glorious one-on-one chance up against Lukasz Skorupski.

Junior Messias was the next to be thwarted by Skorupski, before Leao blazed over the rebound, and Giroud dragged just wide of the target prior to the break.

The Rossoneri deservedly doubled their lead after 58 minutes when Leao lofted in a cross from the left for Giroud to acrobatically volley into the bottom-right corner.

Nicola Sansone almost hit back for Bologna, but his driven effort cannoned against Mike Maignan's right-hand post as Milan preserved their first clean sheet of the campaign.

What does it mean? Milan continue Bologna dominance

Milan had only lost one of their previous 25 Serie A meetings with Bologna, with that defeat coming in January 2016 when Rossoblu coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was with the Rossoneri.

Given their recent dominance in this fixture and last season's Scudetto-winning exploits, it came as little surprise to see Milan control most of proceedings – not allowing a single Bologna shot on target.

With Inter to come next weekend, Milan have thrown down an early marker as they look to defend their title this season.

Home comforts for Leao

Leao was a pivotal factor for Pioli last season as Milan edged out fierce rivals Inter to lift the Scudetto, and the Portugal international proved his worth once more here.

The 23-year-old has scored eight times in the league at home since the start of 2022, with no Serie A player finding the net on more occasions at their own stadium in that time.

Awful Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic was in the headlines earlier in the month after being linked to Manchester United, only for backlash from Red Devils fans to seemingly end any talk of a move.

The forward subsequently became the first player to score in both of Bologna's first two games in a Serie A season since Roberto Baggio in 1997-98, but he failed to deliver up against Milan's well-regimented defence.

What's next?

Milan will look to maintain their unbeaten run when they travel to Sassuolo on Tuesday ahead of the derby against Inter. Bologna host Salernitana on Thursday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.