Chelsea have completed the signing of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for a reported fee of £33.8million (€40m).

The Senegal international centre-back had just one year remaining on his Napoli deal, and has now signed a four-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Koulibaly has been continuously linked with a move away from Naples in recent years, having impressed since moving to Serie A from Belgian side Genk in 2014.

Defensive pair Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have both left Chelsea for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively since the end of last season.

And the Blues have now moved to find replacements by adding Koulibaly, having previously been linked with deals for Nathan Ake, Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt.

In the club's statement, Koulibaly called it a dream come true to be headed to the Premier League.

"I’m very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea," he said. "It’s a big team in the world and my dream was always to play in the Premier League.

"Chelsea came first to get me in 2016 but we didn’t make it. Now when they came to me I accepted it because they really wanted me to come to the Premier League to play for them. When I spoke to my good friends Edou [Mendy] and Jorginho they made my choice easier, so I’m really happy to be with you today."

Koulibaly helped Napoli to three second-place finishes in Serie A and to Coppa Italia success in 2020, as well as winning the Supercoppa Italiana shortly after he arrived in Italy.

He made 27 appearances for Luciano Spalletti's side in 2021-22, as they finished third in the table.

Since arriving at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, no defender in the Italian top flight has won more tackles than Koulibaly (344), or made more successful passes (14,528).

Kalidou Koulibaly has said goodbye to Napoli as he nears a move to Chelsea, saying: "you have been everything for me".

The centre-back joined Napoli in 2014 from Genk and spent eight years with the Italian club, winning the Supercoppa Italiana in 2014 as well as the Coppa Italia in 2020.

But he is now set to join Chelsea in a deal reported to be worth £34million.

He will look to help Chelsea close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City, after the Londoners finished 18 points off second place and 19 adrift of top spot in the 2021-22 campaign.

The Senegal defender posted an Instagram post on Friday, where he bid farewell to the Napoli fans.

The caption read: "Victories, defeats, joys, disappointments. Too many emotions lived together: impossible to summarise them. But I keep everything: in my mind, in my heart.

"My two children were born in Naples. I have met people who will always be part of my life and who made me and my family feel at home: from the first to the last moment. Thanks to you, Naples, I became the man I am today.

"Thanks to the club, the president, the coaches, all my team-mates and all the people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. Thank you, Naples and Neapolitans, for all the love we have given each other.

"Now I feel I have to leave and get back into the game: it's time for a new adventure. Go Napoli forever."

 

Andre Onana has revealed a message of support from compatriot Samuel Eto'o convinced him to join Inter, with the Cameroon legend telling the goalkeeper "you are a winner".

Onana completed his long-awaited move to Inter from Ajax on a free transfer at the start of July, ending a six-season stay with the Eredivisie champions.

The Cameroon international reportedly agreed a deal all the way back in January, with the 26-year-old expected to be the long-term replacement for Samir Handanovic.

Simone Inzaghi's side did not confirm the length of Onana's contract, though it is reported to run through until the end of the 2026-27 campaign.

Having traded Amsterdam for Milan, Onana suggested Eto'o, who was part of the Inter side that completed a stunning treble in 2009-10, played a role in his move to the Nerazzurri.

"It's a great club. From the moment I spoke with [sporting director] Piero Ausilio, he immediately gave me his word and he kept it," Onana told DAZN.

"The talk we had made an impact on me and I was very happy. 

"I already knew Inter because of Eto'o, I talked to him before the transfer and he told me, you are a winner, Inter is the right club for you."

Onana is no stranger to playing for one of Europe's elite, having come through the acclaimed La Masia academy at Barcelona before moving to the youth setup at Ajax in 2015.

"These first days went well, I've learned a lot. I'm happy to be here at this club so close to the players, everything is going very well. I've been to Barcelona, to Amsterdam," he added.

"Being here I have noticed many different things but also some that are similar to Spain.

"For me the goalkeeping training, I'm really enjoying it here. Here you see football differently, there is a different way of thinking and I think this'll help me a lot."

Onana will hope to help Inter reclaim the Serie A title from fierce rivals Milan, with Inzaghi's side starting their league campaign at newly promoted Lecce on August 13.

Juventus have allowed Andrea Cambiaso to join Bologna on loan, just a day after signing the left-back from Genoa.

Massimiliano Allegri's side confirmed the arrival on Thursday of Cambiaso, who agreed a five-year deal after Juve paid a reported €8.5million to Serie B side Genoa. 

Cambiaso, who made 26 league appearances as Genoa suffered Serie A relegation last season, will eventually hope to compete with the likes of Alex Sandro, Danilo and Juan Cuadrado for a starting spot in Turin.

But the 22-year-old will have to wait for his chance to prove his worth as he will spend the 2022-23 season on loan at Bologna, who sold full-back Aaron Hickey to Brentford.

Cambiaso will aim to fill the void left by Hickey, who departed for a fee in the region of £14m (€16.6m), after the Scotland international appeared 48 times in all competitions, 36 of those outings coming last season.

The former Genoa defender will hope to get his first Serie A appearance for Bologna at Lazio on August 14, the day before Juve host Sassuolo to start their league campaign.

Thomas Tuchel acknowledged he did not expect to outlast Roman Abramovich and influential board members at Chelsea, while Romelu Lukaku made it "very clear he wanted to leave".

Chelsea have undergone wholesale change at Stamford Bridge since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the club, with numerous departures at the top of the hierarchy.

Owner Abramovich, hampered by the sanctions imposed on him following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ended a 19-year spell with the Premier League side, while Bruce Buck stepped down as chairman.

Director and chief decision-maker Marina Granovskaia is also set to leave after 12 years, and technical and performance advisor Petr Cech was another departure as the boardroom reshuffle continued.

Granovskaia will remain available to Boehly, who is acting as interim sporting director and chairman, for the duration of the current transfer window to help with the transitional period.

The exodus in the Chelsea boardroom has led head coach Tuchel to be more involved with transfer activity, but the German hopes that he will not be required to participate as actively in negotiations in the longer term.

"It is intense," Tuchel said of the new era at Chelsea. "Everybody needs to find their role and have to adjust and adapt, of course.

"[My job] has changed a lot at the moment. I could never have imagined that I stayed longer at the club than Roman, Marina and Petr. 

"This was impossible so now with Marina not in charge and Petr not here anymore it has changed a lot. It's not my favourite thing to do and in the long run the focus has to be on coaching because it is why I am here.

"But, at the moment, of course my help is needed and wanted, and it is necessary that I step up and take the responsibility. 

"I am in contact with Todd directly on a daily basis and sometimes more than once on a daily basis because we are aware that we have a club in transition and change.

"My concern is for the team to be competitive and for this we have to invest a lot of time and we need to be hands on. There is no other way. 

"We compete not only against the best teams, but also against the best managers. We need to be competitive and replace big players and infuse quality.

"I think it's important for everybody at Cobham to take a little bit more responsibility, not only for me."

Tuchel has lost numerous key leaders from his side, with Antonio Rudiger going to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona, where Cesar Azpilicueta could reportedly join as well.

Lukaku was another departure, sent out on loan to Inter, just a season after Chelsea spent a club-record £97.5million to bring the striker back to London.

The Belgium international labelled his return to Chelsea as a "mistake" on Thursday, and Tuchel suggested it was Lukaku who was intent on returning to Italy for the 2022-23 season.

"There has never been a meeting where I said 'I want this guy out'," said Tuchel. "Never. I was always clear – if he stays we will do everything to put him in a better place, to put him in better shape, to improve my style of coaching, our style of playing, to make him a better fit. 

"It was always a possibility he stayed, but Romelu made it very clear he wanted to leave and the owners took the decision to make the decision straight away.

"Disappointed is the wrong word. I don't know a better word in English. It feels like I take it personally – it's never personal. I am not happy that we couldn't bring more out of him.

"Maybe it would have just taken a bit more time. A bit more fitness, a bit more adaptation in our game. Who knows? But we will not find out.

"Once Romelu gave his clear opinion on the situation and there was a solution on the table, the owners made their choice and had my blessing."

Thomas Tuchel has achieved his "top priority" for the transfer window by signing Raheem Sterling, while the Chelsea head coach cannot foresee Robert Lewandowski arriving.

Sterling joined Manchester City for a reported fee in the region of £45million on Wednesday, as Chelsea confirmed their first signing since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the Blues.

The England international, who signed a five-year deal with Chelsea, scored 17 goals in all competitions for City last season, a tally bettered by only Riyad Mahrez (24) and Kevin De Bruyne (19).

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo has also been linked to Stamford Bridge, alongside Barcelona's top target Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski scored 50 goals in all competitions last term, the most of any player across Europe's top five leagues, and Tuchel appreciates his quality but does not envisage bringing him in.

"I don't think we have a chance for Lewandowski but if there is a chance, he is one of the best number nines," said Tuchel.

"The priority is not on the number nine position right now. We have our top priority [Sterling], we have got our top priority signed. It makes me very, very happy and from there we are very flexible.

"He was the absolute number one for that position. I gave his name to Todd straight away. Every time we played against him, he's horrible to play against, horrible!

"The main point is his intensity and the amount of repetition of intensity that he delivers. This is simply outstanding over the last years.

"It's exactly what we need to raise the level of our players. That's why we are so sure and that's why he was, for us, top of the list.

"Our goal threat should be enough right now. If we think something crazy comes up that we don’t see, maybe we will get involved, maybe not."

 

The versatile Sterling is expected to bring experience to the Chelsea attack, a feature lacking at the back for the Blues after the departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Cesar Azpilicueta is reportedly wanted by Barca as well, while Chelsea appear set to bring in Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly to somewhat fill the void in defence.

The minimum requirement for success under Boehly will be a top-four Premier League finish to qualify for the Champions League, and Tuchel acknowledged he must rebuild to develop a competitive squad.

"I think with Thiago [Silva] in the middle, Toni on the left and Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] or Andreas [on the right] we had the best back-three in the world," he added.

"It's possible [to rebuild at short notice]. We can, we have to. I think we can put a structure in place and we have a structure on which we can rely on.

"For example, if we play against Everton, Thiago can play, Trevoh Chalobah can hopefully play, and Azpi is at the moment here. 

"If there are guys still to be signed or not fully aware of the principles, I don't want to use it as an excuse. When I came in, I had one day to start with the back-three because it was a fit and I still think it will be a fit.

"The first 10 days or 11 days with the group have been outstanding. The mentality, worth ethic and quality in training is absolutely impressive and this makes me very happy.

"I want to be ready when we play Everton. I want to win and I will demand it from myself, my team and all my players.

"The team will be strong. I am not ready to use it as an excuse even though it is maybe true that we are in transition. We can, I can focus, I think the team can focus on what makes us strong and we can take it step by step and work out how to win games."

While Chelsea made their long-awaited first signing in Sterling, top-four rivals Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City have all been busy in the transfer window.

Tuchel was quick to hail the transfer dealings of Antonio Conte, who looks set to seal his sixth signing of the transfer window in Djed Spence, and conceded Chelsea will have to catch up with their competitors.

"I mean it when I said we fight against the best teams and the best coaches, which does not make life easier and they set the bar so high last season, but we start again from scratch," said Tuchel. 

"So we will try again. I can promise you that everybody is ready to try again. We will not give in before we play games. That's why the sanctions did not help. We lost important players and the other teams are recruiting, and did not have the losses that we had.

"If you look at the transfer period of Tottenham with Antonio Conte, it's maybe the strongest team they ever built. Manchester United will not give in, Arsenal will not give in, they've made two big signings already, so we are aware of the situation and try to do our best to be competitive."

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic "never had any doubts" Robert Lewandowski would report back for the start of pre-season training this week.

The Poland international told Bayern in May he wished to move away from the Allianz Arena this transfer window.

That came on the back of a campaign that saw Lewandowski score 50 goals in all competitions – the most of any player across Europe's top five leagues.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta last week confirmed the LaLiga giants had made an offer for the prolific striker and were awaiting a response from Bayern.

Reports from the German media suggested Lewandowski would delay returning for training, but that did not prove the case as he was present for fitness tests on Tuesday.

While the future of the former Borussia Dortmund star remains far from certain, Salihamidzic praised the 33-year-old for not downing tools in an attempt to force through an exit.

"Robert is a top professional who I know very well," Salihamidzic told Bild. "I never had any doubts that he may not show up for training."

 

Bayern have offloaded the likes of Niklas Sule, Marc Roca and Corentin Tolisso this window, while Ryan Gravenberch, Noussair Mazraoui and Sadio Mane have arrived.

Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt is another player on the German champions' radar, with Salihamidzic confident an agreement can be reached with Juventus.

"It was important to meet with Juve," he said. "We held two talks and now we have to be patient and see what happens. In principle, I'm an optimistic person."

De Ligt played more minutes (2,675) than any other Juve outfield player in Serie A last season as Massimiliano Allegri's side struggled to a fourth-placed finish.

And although Lewandowski may have asked for a move away, Salihamidzic believes Bayern are still a club that big-name players want to join.

"It's sexy for the players to go into the future with this club and this coach," he said.

"We'll keep our eyes and ears open, see what's happening on the transfer market, and we'll do our best for Bayern."

Bayern face MLS side D.C. United in their opening pre-season friendly next Wednesday as part of their tour of the United States.

Milan boss Stefano Pioli is eager to entrench himself as a club legend, ahead of his side's Serie A title defence.

The Rossoneri only lost one league game from January to claim their first Scudetto since 2011, beating out arch-rivals Inter on the final day of the season.

It was a redemptive achievement for the 56-year-old, who was only hired on an interim basis after Marco Giampaolo's dismissal in October 2019.

This was followed by Milan's chief football officer Zvonimir Boban effectively falling on his sword to keep Pioli at the club in March 2020, with Milan's form improving as Ivan Gazidis negotiated Ralf Rangnick's potential hire.

Pioli is seeking to emulate the club's coaching greats and believes cultivating a diverse squad has been key, as Milan look to restore their status among the best in European football.

"You can see many legends on the walls of Milanello and the opportunity to get there is exciting," the Italian coach said at a fan event.

"The secret is to try to do the best from day one and have the courage to grow day by day. Only after that, one can decide his targets. It's fundamental to identify the path."

"I began my coaching career in 1999 and now I am more focused on priorities. Multicultural dressing rooms are so nice, we must accept everyone's diversity and group with differences. Players become stronger by knowing each other."

The Rossoneri will have their first pre-season run out on Saturday, with a fixture away to Koln.

Juventus would move for a top-class replacement if Matthijs de Ligt departs for Bayern Munich, head coach Massimiliano Allegri has promised.

Torino's Gleison Bremer is among the centre-backs to be linked with Juventus recently, and the Brazilian could fit the bill for the Bianconeri.

Talks between Juventus and Bayern have taken place this week, and it appears increasingly likely De Ligt will join the Bundesliga champions before the new season begins.

Juventus have brought in Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria as statement signings already during the close season, and they are determined another would follow should De Ligt's three-year stint in Italy draw to a close.

The 22-year-old was acquired from Ajax, and last season the Dutchman played more minutes (2,675) than any other Juve outfield player in Serie A as Allegri's side stumbled to a fourth-placed finish.

"As you all know, [on Wednesday] there was a meeting with Bayern Munich, but for the moment De Ligt is still a Juventus player," Allegri said in a news conference.

"He is training well. I manage those I have here and De Ligt is here. Then the transfer window is open until August 31, therefore anything can happen.

"That said, I am very happy about what the club are doing and have done bringing in two important players. Should De Ligt eventually leave us, our club would replace him in the best way."

Juventus have friendlies lined up against C.D. Guadalajara, Barcelona and Real Madrid on the upcoming Soccer Champions Tour in the United States, playing games in Las Vegas, Dallas and Los Angeles.

It will be a first chance to see France midfielder Pogba back in action for Juventus, six years after he left for Manchester United, while Argentine playmaker Di Maria has joined from Paris Saint-Germain after seven productive seasons in Ligue 1.

"The signings of Pogba and Di Maria are important technically, they hugely raise our technical level and take the responsibility off some other players," said Allegri. "But mostly, they make our squad's skills much better. That is why I am very happy they are with us now.

"Paul has arrived in the right way, with will and determination to come back playing to his standard level since he hadn't in his last season at United.

"At Juventus he has basically come back home, and I think he can help us a lot since from a physical and technical point of view he is a cut above the others."

Barcelona's off-season has the potential to become even more complicated than what it already is.

Trying to balance their ambition with the economic realities of their situation is creating a tricky environment with the players to have departed and are still at the club this off-season.

According to reports, one player whose departure can ease the financial burden Barcelona have placed on themselves does not want to leave.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA INFORM DE JONG OF MANCHESTER UNITED MOVE

Frenkie de Jong has reportedly been told by Barcelona they want him to leave for Manchester United, according to The Athletic.

The Blaugrana are trying to convince De Jong that while they believe he is a talented footballer, they must sell him in order to balance their excessive wage bill.

The clubs have reportedly agreed on a guaranteed transfer fee of £63million (€75m) but the 25-year-old has no apparent desire to leave club, given Barcelona still owe him a deferred salary payment.

Meanwhile, the arrivals of Raphinha and Franck Kessie this off-season complicate the club's pitch of De Jong's transfer being economically necessary, as opposed to the sale being a purely sporting decision.

 

ROUND-UP

– Juventus have approached Arsenal over signing Gabriel Magalhaes as they eye a potential replacement for Matthijs de Ligt, The Independent reports.

– Meanwhile, the Gunners are working on a deal to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City, per The Athletic

– Leeds United are close to agreeing terms with PSG over 20-year-old striker Arnaud Kalimuendo, Sport is reporting.

– At the same time, PSG have been joined by West Ham in the race to sign Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca, according to Fabrizio Romano.

 

Romelu Lukaku admitted during the unveiling of Inter's new playing strip that it was a mistake to leave the club and head back to Chelsea.

Lukaku, 29, had a superb run with Inter after arriving at the club from Manchester United ahead of the 2019-20 season, scoring a combined 64 goals from 95 club appearances across two seasons.

His stellar play in Italy caught the attention of his former club from Stamford Bridge, who opted to bring him back for a club-record fee of £97.5million.

The Belgian's return to the Premier League was disappointing, regularly finding himself out of Chelsea's best XI even when healthy, finishing with just eight goals in 26 league games, prompting a £7m loan move back to the Serie A to try and recoup some of Chelsea's sunk cost.

During the kit unveiling, Lukaku was asked what the toughest challenge of his career has been, and he made it clear how he felt about his second stint with Chelsea.

"The one right now," he responded. "You know, I left, it was a mistake.

"What we do in the locker room and on the pitch, the relationships we have with each other, that’s really important… it’s also right for people to see that our team is really united.

"Inter have given me the opportunity to play at a higher level in my career. I am really happy to wear this jersey, we hope to continue to grow like in the past years. We have to continue like this if we want to reach the goal."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel may also share Lukaku's belief that he does not have a future with the London club, telling Sky Sports "I don't know if it's very likely" that he ever returns to Stamford Bridge after his loan.

"Given the fact he's just on loan, of course there's a chance," he said. "I don't know if it's very likely, but it's not on me to give an outlook on that."

He added: "We decided together with the owners that we'd let (Lukaku) go. It was his wish to go, he had the possibility, we let him go.

"We brought now Raheem Sterling, which gives us a lot of flexibility, a lot of mobility, a lot of attacking options at the front, even if we don't recruit more players."

Sassuolo are in no rush to sell prized asset Gianluca Scamacca amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and West Ham.

That is the message from Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali, who discussed the ongoing negotiations for the striker with Sky Sport Italia on Thursday.

Scamacca has emerged a hot property this transfer window, having scored 16 goals in 36 appearances in the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.

His tally was only bettered by five players – Giovanni Simeone, Tammy Abraham (both 17), Lautaro Martinez (21), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Ciro Immobile (27) – in the Italian top flight.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland, Vinicius Junior and Vlahovic were the only players younger than Scamacca, 23, to score 15 or more goals in Europe's top five leagues.

Despite having Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi Neymar and Mauro Icardi to call on, new PSG coach Christophe Galtier is reportedly interested in Scamacca, who earned his first Italy caps last season.

Europa League semi-finalists West Ham are also said to be interested, and Carnevali suggested David Moyes' side are rumoured to have offered more money for the forward, who may prefer the project at PSG.

Pressed on an update on where Scamacca could be heading, Carnevali responded: "I think it's normal at this time that there are market rumours about some players. 

"There is difficulty but I strongly believe in the players' professionalism, we see them constantly and they work waiting to see what will happen. There is certainly nothing yet."

When it was suggested West Ham had bid more than PSG, Carnevali added: "Yes, there are some bonuses of difference and there is a discourse that is not only linked to the economic aspect but can also be linked to the player's own aspect, to the technical aspect. 

"One thing is certain, we do not need to sell right now. We have to listen to the player's needs and see the bids that are made and that can arrive from one day to the next."

Sassuolo could also lose another star attacker this transfer window, with Juventus and Milan attempting to sign Italy international Domenico Berardi, who has posted doubles figures for goals in Serie A for his last three seasons.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira insists Wilfried Zaha is content at Selhurst Park as he labelled the winger's transfer links to Roma as "just a report".

Zaha was a standout performer for Palace once again in the 2021-22 campaign, managing 15 goal involvements – four more than any team-mate.

The Ivory Coast international scored 14 times in the English top flight last term, his best return in his Premier League career.

But Zaha is heading into the final year of his contract at Palace, with reports suggesting Jose Mourinho's Roma are interested in signing the 29-year-old.

Zaha did not travel on Palace's pre-season tour of Australia and Singapore, but Vieira is certain the forward does not want to move away.

"It's just a report I think," Vieira said ahead of Friday's friendly against Liverpool in Singapore. "We are in a period where there is a lot of speculation regarding players.

"What is really important for me and the football club is that Wilfried Zaha came back on time and he is working well to have a good season.

"What goes on in the papers, it is difficult for us to control. What I know is that he is happy in our football club and he is looking forward to the new season at our football club."

Zaha has been mooted as a transfer target for clubs such as Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton and Borussia Dortmund in recent seasons, but Palace have managed to keep hold of their talisman.

Vieira will hope to have Zaha available when Palace open their Premier League campaign at home to Arsenal on August 5.

Albania goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha has joined Brentford following his departure from Lazio.

Strakosha has signed a three-year deal, which contains the option of a further 12 months, and follows Aaron Hickey and Keane Lewis-Potter in joining Brentford ahead of their second season in the Premier League.

The 27-year-old made more than 200 appearances for Lazio, but he did not sign a new deal with the Serie A side and became a free agent at the start of July.

He will link up with his new team-mates on the German leg of their pre-season tour in the coming days.

"I am pleased that we have managed to sign a top goalkeeper," Brentford boss Thomas Frank told the club's official website. 

"He has been number one at Lazio for a long time, which is very impressive. He has played in Serie A and European competition and will bring that experience with him. 

"He fits our goalkeeper model and comes into a good environment with David Raya and Matthew Cox pushing each other every day."

Greek-born Strakosha has been capped 19 times for Albania and was also touted as a possible target for fellow Premier League sides Manchester United and Fulham. 

Brentford, who twice broke their transfer record in signing Hickey and then Lewis-Potter over the past week, begin their new campaign at Leicester City on August 7.

Luka Jovic labelled Cristiano Ronaldo as "the greatest of all time" and hopes to emulate the Portugal forward's achievements in Italy after leaving Real Madrid for Fiorentina.

Ronaldo ended a nine-year spell with Madrid in 2018 to join Juventus, where he won two Serie A titles in three seasons before returning to Manchester United ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Jovic has followed a similar path, leaving the Spanish capital to move to Fiorentina on a two-year deal as part of a free transfer that will see Madrid take half of any future fee the Viola receive.

While Ronaldo left having taken LaLiga by storm with Los Blancos, Jovic departs after a largely unsuccessful spell in which he scored just three goals in 36 league games.

Madrid paid €60million in 2019 for the Serbia international after he impressed for Eintracht Frankfurt, but Jovic is aiming to put the past behind him as he referenced Ronaldo as one of his idols.

"I am inspired by Cristiano, he is the greatest of all time and I hope I can do what he did in Italy," Jovic told reporters on Thursday.

Jovic will wear Ronaldo's iconic number seven shirt, though the Fiorentina signing insists it was "the only one available that I liked", and believes a different system with the Viola will help him thrive.

"I've never played in this competition, but I have experience in Europe and I think we have the qualities to go far," he added.

"I always played better with two strikers, but in Frankfurt we played with three and in Madrid also with one. I'm just saying that I have to help, the rest is the coach's job.

"I've been training all summer and I think I've come here fit – I just have a little calf problem that doesn't bother me."

Jovic will not be the only Serbia striker operating in Serie A, with international team-mate and former Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic playing up top for Juve.

Vlahovic and Dejan Stankovic share the record for the most goal scored by a Serbian in Serie A (51), but Jovic insists he will put international friendships aside with the Juve attacker now becoming a rival.

"Dusan did great in Italy and I will try to do the same," he continued. "In the national team we are team-mates and here rivals. He spoke to me greatly about the championship and about this club."

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