FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for Italian authorities to honour the legacy of Paolo Rossi by naming the Stadio Olimpico after the former forward.

Rossi scored six goals to claim the Golden Boot and Golden Ball as Italy lifted the 1982 World Cup, while he was awarded the Ballon d'Or in the same year – the only player to win all four trophies in the same year.

During that competition, Rossi guided his side into the knockout stages as his hat-trick propelled Italy to a 3-2 group-stage victory over a formidable Brazil team, which included legends Socrates and Zico.

Rossi still remains Italy's joint-top scorer at World Cups, with his nine goals only matched by fellow attackers Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri.

The former Vicenza and Juventus striker died aged 64 in 2020, and Infantino implored the Italian Football Federation (IFF) to mark Rossi's legacy by naming Lazio and Roma's Olimpico stadium after him.

"What are we waiting for to name the Olimpico after Paolo Rossi? There isn't another Italian who has given more to this sport," he said on Monday at an event to remember former IFF president Artemio Franchi.

"So, please I'm saying this to all the directors here. Please, help us, I think Paolo deserves it."

Infantino also recalled a meeting with former referee Abraham Klein, who officiated the meeting between Italy and Brazil in 1982 and ruled out what would have been Italy's fourth goal through Giancarlo Antognoni.

"Among other things, he admitted that Antognoni's goal [that was disallowed for offside] was valid, so let's rectify the result, it ended 4-2," he added on Klein before discussing the legacy of Franchi.

"I am president of FIFA, who for the first time in its history has appointed a woman general secretary. These are the values ​​that football gives and that we managers must protect, as did Artemio Franchi.

"It means listening, but also making decisions and acting: without this, Italy probably would not have won the European Championships and would not have qualified for the World Cup, UEFA would not have taken the steps it took at a time when Europe was uniform.

"As leaders, we must always seek, with diplomacy and emotion to bring the sport back to play this very important role of giving emotions to people."

Tammy Abraham is relishing the opportunity to play abroad under Jose Mourinho, labelling the Roma boss the "best manager in the world."

The 24-year-old English striker has netted 23 goals across all competitions this season and 15 league goals in his first year in Serie A, only behind Dusan Vlahovic and Ciro Immobile in the race for the Capocannoniere.

The Giallorossi are undefeated in the league since a 4-3 loss to Juventus in January and Abraham has scored seven goals in that period - including a brace in a 3-0 win over fierce rivals Lazio.

Abraham attributes some of his success to the notoriously demanding Mourinho.

"You know Mourinho's a character that we all know," Abraham told talkSPORT.

"There's a reason why I call him the best manager in the world. He knows how to drive you, he knows how to get under your skin and he knows how to make you feel like a very special player at times.

"He'll never tell you but I always want to do my best for him."

While admitting Abraham's move to Italy was not a first preference while on his way out from Chelsea, the fact that Mourinho would be his boss helped make his mind up.

Abraham says his parents also played a big part in persuading him to move to Italy.

He added: "As a young English lad I wanted to stay in England. Roma came along and Atalanta and many different teams around the world, I was telling myself I wanted to stay in the Premier League and that I had something to prove.

"But my dad, parents and agent sat me down and said 'you scored goals at Chelsea, Swansea and Bristol City, go and test the waters, go and experience life abroad.'

"When they were speaking it kind of dawned on me that not many players can say they've gone out in Italy, to Serie A and a team like Roma."

Jose Mourinho confronted a journalist ahead of Roma's visit to Sampdoria on Sunday, saying the reporter "s***" himself in front of him. 

Journalist Alessandro Austini recently criticised Mourinho on Italian radio and the former Manchester United and Real Madrid boss took him to task at his pre-match media conference on Saturday.

Mourinho, 59, said he expected a tougher line of questioning from Austini and accused the journalist of cowering in front of him.

In response to his question, Mourinho said: "I was expecting a much more aggressive question, more negative and violent after I listened to you on the radio.

"I didn't expect such an easy question. My conclusion is that you are much more aggressive and violent on the radio but when you come here you s*** yourself a little bit in front of me."

Roma sit seventh in Serie A ahead of Sunday's visit to Sampdoria, having amassed 51 points from their 30 games.

They are unbeaten in their last nine Italian top-flight matches (W5 D4), winning three of their last four. They last went 10 unbeaten in a row in a single campaign in 2015-16 (17 back then, under Luciano Spalletti).

Barcelona's rebuild under Xavi has shown positive signs, but a new striker appears to be a priority going forward.

Following Sergio Aguero's retirement in December, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived during the January transfer window and quickly excelled under Xavi, but his position may yet come under threat.

Memphis Depay remains the club's top scorer this season, netting 10 times in all competitions, yet one potential signing guarantees goals.

TOP STORY – LEWANDOWSKI SETTLES ON BARCELONA MOVE

Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement with Robert Lewandowski.

Sport claims the Poland striker wants to leave Bayern Munich for the Catalan giants, but they will have to convince Bayern to sell him.

The 33-year-old's contract expires at the end of next season and he is yet to agree to an extension in Bavaria.

Lewandowski has scored 45 goals in all competitions this term, and Barca are reportedly willing to pay as much as €60million to bring him to Camp Nou for next season.

ROUND-UP

– Tottenham are leading the race to sign Memphis Depay, per reports in Mundo Deportivo.

– Napoli have set a price tag of €100million for striker Victor Osimhen, according to Corriere dello Sport.

– The Mirror is reporting Ainsley Maitland-Niles is expected not to be retained by Roma, on loan from Arsenal.

 Inter show continued interest in Torino's Gleison Bremer, with talks in progress with a defender also linked to Milan, per Fabrizio Romano.

Marco Verratti and Jorginho were among a group of six players to leave the Italy camp after their failure to qualify for the World Cup. 

Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Berardi and Gianluca Mancini also returned to their clubs ahead of schedule, with the latter two having sustained knocks. 

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is expected to ring the changes in a friendly against Turkey on Tuesday following the Azzurri's shock defeat to North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on Thursday. 

The Euro 2020 champions' first ever home loss in World Cup qualifying meant they failed to reach successive finals for the first time in their history. 

Instead of taking on Portugal in the play-off final, Italy will depart for Konya on Monday. 

Barcelona have re-established themselves this term after a strong January transfer window.

Barca head coach Xavi, appointed in November, has overseen a major form reversal culminating in last week's 4-0 Clasico win.

The Blaugrana have their sights set on more additions as they continue to re-build after Lionel Messi's exit last year.

TOP STORY - BARCELONA SET SIGHTS ON SALAH

Barcelona boss Xavi is determined to land Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah , claims Mundo Deportivo.

The cash-strapped Catalans have switched their attention from the race for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Salah is yet to re-sign with Liverpool where he is out of contract in 2023.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he will not put the club at financial risk in order to sign Erling Haaland, per Fabrizio Romano for Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool will not pursue West Ham United's Declan Rice amid interest from several clubs in the England international midfielder, claims Football Insider.

- Leeds United has rejected a £29million bid from  Barcelona  for 25-year-old Brazilian winger  Raphinha , whose release clause is set at £60million, according to Sport.

- Arsenal midfielder  Granit Xhaka  remains a transfer target for  Roma head coach Jose Mourinho, per the Gazzetta dello Sport.

- According to the Daily Mail, Wolves and Portugal winger  Pedro Neto  is on  Paris Saint-Germain's  wanted list.

Argentine forward Paulo Dybala is set to exit Juventus at the end of this season.

As a result, the Bianconeri are assessing their options for a replacement.

Juventus are currently fourth in Serie A after an excellent run of results which have put them into the title picture.

TOP STORY – ZANIOLO FRAMED AS DYBALA REPLACEMENT 

TuttoMercato claims Juventus have set their sights on Nicolo Zaniolo as Dybala's replacement, with the Roma attacker unlikely to renew with the Giallorossi before his contract expires in 2024.

The first domino in this instance is Dybala, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Juventus have no intention of extending according to Fabrizio Romano. Romano claims the 28-year-old will not move another club in Serie A, opening up a move to long-time suitor Tottenham.

According to TuttoMercato, Juve have chosen Zaniolo as their replacement and would be ready to make a move in the upcoming transfer window. Whether they can manoeuvre to match his current market value of €40million remains to be seen, however.

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- Per Sky Sports, Manchester United have narrowed their shortlist for a permanent manager down to Ajax's Erik ten Hag, Sevilla's Julen Lopetegui, Spain boss Luis Enrique and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino .

- Inter have targeted Edinson Cavani as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Calciomercato reports Arsenal will make a move for Arthur in the upcoming transfer window, as contract negotiations with Juventus have broken down.

- Arsenal are also keen to tie Bukayo Saka to a long-term contract, in attempts to fend off outside interest for the 20-year-old, per The Athletic.

Jose Mourinho has challenged Tammy Abraham to build on his performance in the Rome derby after the former Chelsea striker netted twice in a 3-0 win.

Abraham opened the scoring for Roma in the first minute of Sunday's clash with Lazio. That was the fastest goal ever recorded in a Serie A Rome derby.

It also made Abraham only the second English player to score in the match, after Paul Gascoigne, who did so for Lazio back in 1992.

Abraham doubled his tally with a volley in the 22nd minute to take his tally to 15 league goals for the season, with Lorenzo Pellegrini adding a third for Mourinho's team before half-time.

Since the start of 2022, only Robert Lewandowski (12) has netted more goals in the big five European leagues than Abraham (nine), but despite the 24-year-old's sparkling form, Mourinho remains typically hard to please.

"Great performance," Mourinho told DAZN. "Today was really special because it seemed that everything we had planned was put on the field, Lazio in the second half tried to play with pride but we never lost control.

"No doubt, the boys deserved the victory.

"When you say Abraham is fantastic I disagree, he can do even more. I demand a lot of him because I know his potential, I'm not talking about goals but he must play every game with this attitude."

 

With Roma in such control before the break, their supporters in the Curva Sud began chanting "ole" at every pass, though Mourinho was visibly frustrated by this.

There was a curious moment just before half-time when Mourinho was furious with the Roma ultras in the Curva Sud, demanding they stop making mocking ‘ole’ chants at every pass.

"I don't like 'ole' things, I don't like how they are interpreted by the players on the pitch. You always need respect for your opponent," Mourinho explained.

Roma's win lifted them to fifth in Serie A, putting them in prime position to secure a Europa League place. Lazio, meanwhile, are two points behind in seventh.

Maurizio Sarri was furious with his side's reaction to conceding after 56 seconds.

"The goal immediately cut our legs and we didn't have the strength to react," he told DAZN. "We immediately lowered our heads and I'm sorry we lost a derby like this, I know how much the fans care.

"We got nervous right away, making mistakes. We immediately lost our minds, we weren't lucid because there would have been time to straighten it."

Tammy Abraham netted the fastest goal ever recorded in a Serie A Rome derby and became just the second Englishman to score in the match, after Paul Gascoigne.

England international Abraham bundled the ball in from barely a yard after 56 seconds of Sunday's clash to put Roma 1-0 up on Lazio.

He could hardly miss as Lorenzo Pellegrini's corner from the left swung in and hit the crossbar, with the ball bouncing down for Abraham to poach from close range for Jose Mourinho's team.

Abraham follows in the footsteps of fellow English export Gascoigne, who netted for Lazio in the fixture in November 1992.

It got even better on Sunday for the 24-year-old when he volleyed a second from Rick Karsdorp's cross to give Roma a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute, boosting his tally to 15 league goals this season. 

Is Maurizio Sarri getting the most out of Lazio? To help answer that, we arguably have to look to his coaching predecessor - Simone Inzaghi.

After five seasons of trying under Inzaghi's stewardship, the Biancocelesti finally qualified for the Champions League. There were seasons where they came agonisingly close too - particularly in 2017-18, where Inter beat them at the Stadio Olimpico on the final day of the Serie A season, to claim fourth place and the final spot in Europe's premier competition.

When they finally did qualify, last season’s 6-2 defeat on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the last-16 – and Inzaghi’s ensuing departure for Inter – was microcosmic of an overall sense the 45-year-old extracted the maximum out of the players he had at his disposal, within his system.

With Sunday's Rome derby in mind, despite the fact Lazio are currently fifth and again perceivably in the running for that last Champions League place, that's the arguable framework for how we must interpret Sarri's first season in the Italian capital.

It's not only pertinent to ask whether the 63-year-old is extracting the maximum out of this Lazio squad within his own system. Ultimately, are the players Sarri has at his disposal even compatible to that system?

One of the stronger case studies in this discussion is Luis Alberto. The Spaniard is arguably not only one of Serie A's most transformative midfielders, but in European football.

Since joining Lazio in 2016, within the framework of Inzaghi’s 3-5-2, the 29-year-old blossomed into an elite ball progressor and shot creator from a statistical standpoint. He holds five of the 10 highest ratings for passes into the penalty area per 90 minutes in Lazio's history - since Stats Perform's first recordings of the data in 2005-06.

 

Just as important as Luis Alberto's ability to create with the ball is his ability to act as a positional reference point, in order to create for others without it. His ability to drive and distribute is underpinned by an intelligent and assertive positional sense, which also compliments the likes of Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic - and the latter’s particular penchant for late entry into the penalty area.

Yet along with cramping him of the half-space to move into when Lazio are in possession, Sarri's 4-3-3 setup asks more of the Spaniard defensively - exacerbating his notoriously suspect ground coverage. The more energetic Toma Basic's August transfer from Bordeaux and initial scope under the new coach, in Luis Alberto's place, was conspicuous in this respect.

This all matters because under Sarri, only Napoli have kept the ball more than them in Serie A this season. Lazio rank 12th in Europe's top-five leagues combined for touches per 90, but 60th for shots in the penalty area per 90. It would take a sizeable increase in shot quality upon previous years to make that disparity more sustainable, weighing up qualitative and quantitative aspects. That increase hasn't eventuated.

Lazio's ability to function in possession ultimately relies on Luis Alberto's skillset, and one statistic stands out - even this season, the team has averaged 9.27 shots in open play per 90 minutes with him on the pitch, and 5.97 without. In addition, his impact on Immobile is profound.

 

 

Immobile's xG per open play shot (0.14 on/0.2 off) actually increases when Luis Alberto is off the pitch, but his quantity of open-play shots also goes down (3.15 on/2.27 off). Meanwhile, playing in Sarri's 4-3-3 requires more from him as a collaborative player with his back to goal, a relatively weak area of his play that contributed to respective struggles at Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund and the Italian national team.

In Inzaghi's 3-5-2, Immobile wasn't cramped for space and could still receive the ball between the lines, but in positions where he's able to face goal and go at defenders with momentum. This season, the 32-year-old striker has completed (0.6) and attempted (1.38) fewer dribbles than in any of his six seasons at Lazio.

On top of that, despite this season being his second highest so far for touches per 90 (42.67), Immobile is also creating less chances in open play per 90 (0.78) than in any of his six seasons at the Olimpico. Six penalties for the season brings his higher xG but lower xA per 90 into context, exposing a question of net gain.

 

 

This all provides the backdrop for Lazio's sizeable xG overperformance this season. It is ultimately propelling their contention for a Champions League place and obscuring just how volatile they have been defensively – exposing Francesco Acerbi's ability to play in a four-man defence as opposed to a three-man defence.

So far this season in Serie A, Lazio have scored the second-highest amount of goals with 58 and rank eighth for xG with 42.1, but aside from Hellas Verona (14.3), are a distant first (15.9) in differential between the two statistical categories.

With this all in context, the reality that Sarri will remain faithful to this 4-3-3 will arguably be to the detriment of Lazio's most important players under Inzaghi. Whether they stay or go, as long as Sarri stays, will determine how dramatic the eventual regression to the mean will be.

Roma will seek redemption against Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League quarter-final, while Leicester City will face PSV.

Jose Mourinho's Roma were hammered 6-1 at Bodo/Glimt in the group stage of this competition, and the Norwegian side now stand in their way of a potential semi-final meeting with Leicester or PSV.

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester overcame Rennes 3-2 on aggregate in their last-16 clash, while PSV ran out 8-4 aggregate victors in a thrilling tie with Copenhagen in the last round.

Another two teams that met in the group stages will face off on the other side of the draw, with Feyenoord hosting Slavia Prague in the first leg and the winners will meet Marseille or PAOK in the other semi-final.

The two-leg quarter-final clashes are set to take place across April 7 and April 14, with the semi-finals to follow on April 28 and May 5.

Europa League quarter-final draw

Bodo/Glimt v Roma

Feyenoord v Slavia Prague

Marseille v PAOK

Leicester City v PSV

Semi-final draw

Leicester City / PSV v Bodo/Glimt / Roma

Feyenoord / Slavia Prague v Marseille / PAOK

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has sparked the build-up for Sunday's Derby della Capitale remarking Lazio were "smoking cigarettes" while his side progressed in the Conference League on Thursday.

The Giallorossi edged past Dutch outfit Vitesse after Tammy Abraham's 90th-minute goal earned a 1-1 draw and 2-1 aggregate victory at the Stadio Olimpico.

Mourinho said Roma would quickly switch their attention to Sunday's derby with his side in seventh, one point behind Maurizio Sarri's Lazio in fifth in Serie A.

"Obviously, I am not happy that we played today with many players who will also have to be there on Sunday while tonight Lazio are home smoking cigarettes with Sarri, but it’s because Vitesse are really good," Mourinho told reporters after the game.

Mourinho fielded a strong Roma outfit against Vitesse and given the situation of the tie, with Maximilian Wittek's 62nd-minute goal levelling it on aggregate, he was unable to rest any key players with a quick turnaround for Sunday's derby.

"Now Sarri is at home smoking his cigarette while I go home trying to think how we can recover from this for Sunday," Mourinho said.

He added: "We never came into this to control the result or aim for a draw to get us through. We worked with one objective, preparing to go for victory.

"It was a bad performance on a technical level, it might seem tactical, but it was technical. We defended well and showed character, but we also pushed hard at the end with El Shaarawy as a third striker, not a wing-back.

"I don’t want to say we 100 per cent deserved to go through, but over the two legs did a little more."

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.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has sparked the build-up for Sunday's Derby della Capitale remarking Lazio are off "smoking cigarettes" while his side progressed in the Conference League on Thursday.

The Giallorossi edged past Dutch outfit Vitesse after Tammy Abraham's 90th-minute goal earned a 1-1 draw and 2-1 aggregate victory.

Mourinho said Roma would quickly switch their attention to Sunday's derby with his side in seventh, one point behind Maurizio Sarri's Lazio in fifth.

"Obviously, I am not happy that we played today with many players who will also have to be there on Sunday while tonight Lazio are home smoking cigarettes with Sarri, but it’s because Vitesse are really good," Mourinho told reporters after the game.

Mourinho fielded a strong Roma outfit against Vitesse and given the situation of the tie, with Maximilian Wittek's 62nd-minute goal levelling it on aggregate, he was unable to rest any key players with a quick turnaround for Sunday's derby.

"Now Sarri is at home smoking his cigarette while I go home trying to think how we can recover from this for Sunday," Mourinho said.

He added: "We never came into this to control the result or aim for a draw to get us through. We worked with one objective, preparing to go for victory.

"It was a bad performance on a technical level, it might seem tactical, but it was technical. We defended well and showed character, but we also pushed hard at the end with El Shaarawy as a third striker, not a wing-back.

"I don’t want to say we 100 per cent deserved to go through, but over the two legs did a little more."

Edinson Cavani's stay at Manchester United seems to be coming to an end.

Signed as a free agent from Paris Saint-Germain in 2020, Cavani has found his game-time limited this season by both injury and managerial preferences, while it has also been claimed recently he has opted out of playing.

He is out of contract at the end of the season and appears determined to find a new club.

 

TOP STORY – CAVANI WANTS LALIGA SWITCH

Fabrizio Romano has reported that Cavani's preference is to join a team in LaLiga.

The 35-year-old, who has scored two Premier League goals this season, has not yet played in LaLiga, having previously starred for Napoli in Serie A before his move to PSG in 2013.

Cavani was previously linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, prior to joining United. Romano also reports that Argentine giants River Plate have approached the Uruguay international, but that potential move does not interest the striker.

ROUND-UP 

- Barcelona want to tie up deals for Ajax full-back Noussair Mazraoui, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Milan's midfield powerhouse Franck Kessie, who are all approaching the end of their contracts, reports Romano.

- The Daily Mail, citing The Mirror, are reporting that United will consider making a move for Tottenham star Harry Kane at the end of the season.

- Aston Villa are one of the clubs monitoring Kalvin Phillips' situation at Leeds United, so say The Daily Mail.

- SPORT claim that Sergino Dest is willing to leave Barca and join Roma.

- According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus and Milan are both keeping tabs on Lille midfielder Renato Sanches.

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