Jose Mourinho said he is ready to embark on "another Mission: Impossible" after Roma reignited his passion for football.

Former Inter head coach Mourinho will return to Serie A in 2021-22 after being appointed by Roma following his Tottenham sacking in April.

Mourinho, who guided Inter to an unprecedented treble in 2009-10, replaces Paulo Fonseca in Rome, where Roma have not won the Serie A since 2001.

Roma – seventh in the Serie A last season – have not claimed silverware since 2008 but Mourinho is ready for the challenge following past "mistakes" in his managerial career.

"They really wanted me," Mourinho told GQ Portugal. "It was almost instantly, me leaving Tottenham in the morning and Roma calling me in the afternoon. They wanted me a lot and were objective.

"Something I had already felt throughout my years in Italy was the Italian passion when it comes to football, specifically around Roma, a club that has won no trophies in 20 years.

"These are new owners, who have a very humble approach in a way that they recognised this was a new chapter in their amazing professional lives, a chapter in which they needed help from someone with a broad experience.

"They were very honest and straightforward, and I immediately felt this passion I have for my work. So I didn't have to think too much about it, because they really touched me with their approach. I really liked it."

Mourinho won only 51.2 per cent of his matches at Tottenham and left without lifting a single trophy, albeit he was sacked just days before the 2021 EFL Cup final.

His record in the English top flight before 2015-16 saw him boast a success rate of 69.4 per cent – since then it is just 48.5 per cent.

The 95 points won by Spurs during Mourinho's time at the club was the fourth highest in the Premier League. However, that was 21 fewer than former team Manchester United – Liverpool had 117 and Manchester City were out in front on 130.

Mourinho's teams are supposed to be hard to beat, that had essentially been his unique selling point for years, yet Spurs lost 13 times in 2020-21 under him – it was the worst season he has ever had in that regard.

"I make mistakes sometimes, I haven't always chosen the right project, or I may have been misled about the path of some projects. I've made mistakes or I've been led in a dishonest way into accepting what I shouldn't have, but in the end it's all the same," Mourinho added.

"These aren't my words, they were said by someone who was much more important than me: Whoever has goals and drive, will never grow older.

"I still can't believe that I have 30 years of experience in professional football, or that I am 58 years old, because I am always renewing my motivation.

"Lately I've been having very different projects to before. I went to Manchester United in a phrase of transition, not to say decay.

"I went to Tottenham who don't have a history of success. Now I go to Roma with new owners, but I immediately felt this empathy with the owners, the director and they straight away reignited the fire and passion I have for my job.

"So here I go on another Mission: Impossible. I say impossible because people tend to look at me and in their eyes there's only one way to measure success, which is that I have to win."

"I always say that if I were to come to Portugal to coach Belenenses or Gil Vicente, if I didn't win, then I wouldn't call it a success."

Marco van Basten launched stinging criticism of Matthijs de Ligt's defending and said he must become a leader after the Netherlands qualified for the last 16 of Euro 2020.

De Ligt recovered from injury to make his first appearance of the tournament in a 2-0 victory over Austria at Johan Cruijff ArenA on Thursday, helping the Oranje win Group C.

The Juventus centre-back had a comfortable evening at the centre of the Netherlands' back three, winning 80 per cent of his duels and not misplacing any of his 40 passes in an assured performance.

De Ligt won more duels (124) than any other Juve centre-back in Serie A last season, but the Turin giants only kept three clean sheets in the 27 matches he featured in.

Netherlands great Van Basten says the 21-year-old still has a lot to learn and wants to see him take more responsibility.

He told NOS: "He is a central defender and must convey more leadership.

"He must make himself heard, assert himself because he has to lead the defence. Instead, he just runs after his man, leaving a huge hole. 

"De Ligt went to Italy. to learn how to defend, but I don't think he learned much there."

The Oranje sealed their place in the next stage of the tournament with one group game to spare, but Van Basten thinks they will have to change their tactics.

"If we look at how many times [Maarten] Stekelenburg has to kick the ball, this is not a good thing. It becomes a kind of combat football," the former Milan striker added.

"From behind, you need to have more vision and control to advance while playing football so you can dominate the game. But I haven't seen it so far."

Juventus legend Giampiero Boniperti, the club's honorary president, has died aged 92.

The Bianconeri announced his passing on Friday.

Boniperti represented Juve for 15 years as a player, winning five Scudetti between 1946 and 1961.

He retired having scored 179 goals for the Turin club, a record that stood for almost 40 years before it was passed by Alessandro Del Piero.

Boniperti's 443 Serie A appearances also set a Juve benchmark, again topped by Del Piero.

The club great became Juve president in 1971, overseeing 16 trophy wins, and was later given his honorary title.

"Winning is not important, but it is the only thing that matters," he was famously quoted.

A Juve statement on Friday said: "This is the news we never wanted to give you.

"Today, June 18, 2021, we bid farewell to Giampiero Boniperti, who passed away in Turin at the age of 92.

"This emotion we are all feeling right now will not prevent us from thinking fondly of him, for everything our president was and will always be in Juventus' life. 

"An indelible figure, who, as of today, is handed over to memory, because he has been in the history of football for some time.

"Because when you express a thought, and that thought becomes part of the DNA of the club you have dedicated your life to, it means that your character has become its identity and way of being. Forever."

European champions Chelsea and French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain have both been in hot pursuit of Achraf Hakimi.

Morocco international Hakimi, 22, helped Inter win the Serie A title.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid full-back is a star on the rise.

 

TOP STORY – HAKIMI AGREES TO CHELSEA MOVE

Chelsea appear to have won the race for Inter defender Hakimi after he "verbally agreed" to join the European champions, according to Calcio in Pillole journalist Ekrem Konur.

Konur claims Inter want £43million (€50m) and full-back Marcos Alonso from Chelsea as part of the deal.

Footmercato reports PSG will table a second bid for Hakimi worth €70m.

 

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- Manchester United have made their move for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane with a £50m (€58m) bid for the French defender, claims the Manchester Evening News. It is alleged Madrid want £80m (€93m) for Varane.

- Roma will turn their attention to Aston Villa's Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz should they fail to sign Arsenal's Granit Xhaka, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Football Insider reports Everton are keen to pursue Wolves defender Conor Coady.

- Wolves are weighing up a move for ex-Chelsea forward Diego Costa , who is a free agent, according to UOL.

Aston Villa have signed Ashley Young on a free transfer following the winger's exit from Inter.

Young has agreed a one-year contract at Villa Park, a decade after departing the club for Manchester United.

The former England international spent four and a half years with Villa during his previous spell and made 190 appearances in all competitions.

Villa confirmed Young's arrival on their official website on Thursday and the versatile wide player added: "It feels amazing to be back, it feels like I've not left.

"I'm just delighted to be back, seeing some old faces, being back at the training ground, seeing the facilities and how well they've grown.

"You can see how much the club has evolved since my time and I'm just ready to get down to work now."

Young featured 34 times for Scudetto winners Inter in the 2020-21 campaign, including 26 outings in their successful Serie A campaign.

He scored one goal – coming in last month's 5-1 win against Udinese – and set up four more in the Italian top flight last season.

Prior to joining Inter, Young won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League with United.

The 35-year-old is Villa's second signing of the close season following the club-record capture of Emiliano Buendia last week, while it has been reported they had a bid in the region of £25million for Emile Smith Rowe rejected by Arsenal.

Milan will sign Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal on July 1.

The Serie A club have exercised an option to secure the 23-year-old's services until 2025.

Blues academy graduate Tomori has impressed on loan at San Siro during a spell in which he made 22 appearances in all competitions. 

Milan are reported to have paid £25million to seal the deal, which could rise to £30m depending on performance factors.

"Chelsea is grateful to Fikayo for his contributions at the club, from youth level to men’s first-team squad, and wishes him the very best in his future career," read a statement from the Premier League side.

Tomori, who had 17 top-flight outings during his time at Stamford Bridge, has one England cap to his name.

Gianluigi Buffon has returned to Parma, the club where he began his senior career 20 years ago.

The veteran goalkeeper left Juventus at the end of the 2020-21 season and was reportedly approached by Turkish Super Lig giants Besiktas, and Flamengo.

The Italy great has instead chosen to return to Stadio Ennio Tardini, where he developed as a youth and spent six years in the senior team after making his debut back in 1995 at the age of 17, keeping a clean sheet against a Milan side featuring the likes of Roberto Baggio and George Weah.

Roberto D'Aversa, the Parma head coach, was a teenager on the Rossoneri's books at the time.

Parma announced the return of their "superman" via a video released on Twitter, showing Buffon digging up a time capsule buried beneath one of the goals at the famous old ground.

Buffon won the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and famously the 1998-99 UEFA Cup with Parma before leaving for Juve in 2001.

His glittering career in Turin included 11 league titles – one of which came when they topped Serie B in 2006-07, Buffon having stayed at the club despite their relegation due to the Calciopoli scandal.

Buffon also won five Coppe Italia, most recently last season, and six Supercoppe Italiana. He reached three Champions League finals with Juve, losing each one.

He spent 2018-19 with Paris Saint-Germain, winning Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions, before returning to the Allianz Stadium two years ago.

A winner of the 2006 World Cup, Buffon's 176 Italy caps is a record for the Azzurri, his final appearance coming in a friendly with Argentina in March 2018.

Buffon, who turns 44 next January, will spend 2021-22 in Serie B, Parma having been relegated last season after winning just three games.

 

Gennaro Gattuso has left as head coach of Fiorentina just 23 days after being appointed.

The Serie A club confirmed on Thursday that the former Napoli boss had stepped down by mutual consent.

"The company immediately set to work to identify a technical choice that will guide the Viola team towards the results that Fiorentina and the city of Florence deserve," they said.

Gattuso, who took the Fiorentina job just two days after leaving Napoli, is reported to have had disagreements over the club's transfer plans.

His agent, Jorge Mendes, is said to have proposed signings such as Porto's Sergio Oliveira and Goncalo Guedes of Valencia, but Fiorentina's management wanted to explore more affordable options.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, former Lyon boss Rudi Garcia, ex-Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri and Walter Mazzarri, most recently at Torino, are candidates to succeed Gattuso.

Fiorentina finished 13th last season, with just nine victories from 38 league games.

After 16 years, Sergio Ramos is moving on from Real Madrid.

The 35-year-old is far from finished, though, as his wage demands indicate.

His next club will have to meet high salary expectations. 

 

TOP STORY – BIG CLUBS IN MIX FOR RAMOS

Manchester City has been in contact with Ramos' representatives for some time, AS reported, and the Premier League champions should be able to handle the Spaniard's reported €12million annual salary demands. 

That number figures to limit the number of serious contenders to sign the superstar centre-back, with Manchester United also reportedly in the mix. 

Paris Saint-Germain could also turn to Ramos after failing to find a suitable replacement for Thiago Silva in central defence. 

 

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- Bernardo Silva's agent has had talks with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid over a move to LaLiga for the Manchester City man, the Daily Mail says. 

- Juventus lead the race to sign Euro 2020 star Manuel Locatelli, Fabrizio Romano reports, with Sassuolo seeking a fee of around €40million (£34m). 

- Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri is Napoli's top target during this transfer window, Gazzetta dello Sport reports, with the Blues seeking a €15m (£13m) fee. 

- Everton face competition from Inter in their pursuit of PSV Eindhoven defender and Netherlands international Denzel Dumfries, according to Voetbal International. 

- Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma will join PSG on a five-year contract, Romano reports, adding that the 22-year-old goalkeeper is expected to undergo his medical Monday in Florence. 

- Brighton have agreed a £25m fee with Stuttgart for forward Nicolas Gonzalez, the Guardian reports, while Sky Sports says the Seagulls rejected Arsenal's £40m bid for England international Ben White

- Arsenal are also in pursuit of Porto winger Jesus Corona along with Sevilla and Fiorentina, according to the Daily Mail. 

Is Erling Haaland's future close to being resolved?

Borussia Dortmund, up until now, have been unwilling to part with their top asset.

But Chelsea are reportedly making progress to bring Haaland to London.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA CLOSING IN ON HAALAND?

Chelsea have agreed personal terms with Erling Haaland and now just need to agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund, according to the Transfer Window Podcast.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

But Chelsea have reportedly made a breakthrough in their pursuit to prise the Norway forward to Stamford Bridge.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport claims Madrid are targeting Inter star Nicolo Barella or Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli. Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has also been linked. Locatelli is attracting interest this off-season, with Juventus, Arsenal, Inter, Dortmund and City reported admirers.

Arsenal are chasing Leicester City's James Maddison, according to Chris Wheatley. Chelsea and Liverpool are believed to be also tracking the England international.

- Eurosport reports Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal is on City's radar. Pep Guardiola's side could make a move if Bernardo Silva – linked with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – or Raheem Sterling leave.

Atletico are set to sign Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese, says Fabrizio Romano. The Argentina international has been wanted by Liverpool, Juve and Leeds United.

Milan are looking to sign Stuttgart forward Sasa Kalajdzic, according to Calciomercato. Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Torino star Andrea Belotti and Madrid outcast Luka Jokic have also been linked.

- Bild claims Bayern would be willing to sell Kingsley Coman for the right price amid interest from United and Liverpool. The Bundesliga champions are also considering the futures of Niklas Sule and Corentin Tolisso.

Inter star Achraf Hakimi is more likely to leave the Serie A champions than team-mate Lautaro Martinez, according to agent Alejandro Camano.

Hakimi has been heavily linked with a move away from Inter as Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea reportedly battle to sign the Moroccan full-back.

After arriving from Real Madrid ahead of 2020-21, Hakimi helped Inter to their first Scudetto in 10 years, but his future has been in doubt amid Inter's financial problems.

With Inter trying to cut costs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Hakimi, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid target Martinez, Romelu Lukaku and Alessandro Bastoni could reportedly be sold following Antonio Conte's departure.

Camano represents both Hakimi and Martinez and believes the former is currently headed for the exit door.

"Balance sheets rule the world, so if Inter were to lose Lautaro, it wouldn't be for cheap," Camano told Radio Colonia's Como Te Va program.

"The only one who could leave Inter now is Hakimi, and I represent him too."

There has been talk regarding a contract extension for Martinez, but Camano added: "We have to work on the Lautaro issue, as the situation is still not clear.

"What were normal price-tags two years ago for transfers now seem to have lost their value after the pandemic. There is nothing concrete with regards to Lautaro. Inter have a very strong position with the player and they don't want to let him go.

"We also need to see what it is that Lautaro wants, as he is 23 years old and his opinion is very important here. I think he can become one of the greatest players in Europe and the world."

Alvaro Morata will spend another season with Juventus after the Serie A giants extended his loan until June 30, 2022.

The striker has agreed to stay in Turin, where he spent 2020-21 on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Morata scored 20 goals in all competitions last season, his best tally for a single campaign in his career, while also providing 11 assists.

Juve said in a statement on Tuesday: "It goes without saying, Morata is in the right place, at the right time. And, of course, for another year!"

Morata spent two years at Juve from 2014 to 2016 before returning to Real Madrid for the 2016-17 season.

After a difficult spell at Chelsea, he moved to Atletico initially on loan in 2019 before signing a permanent deal a year later.

In total, Morata has registered 47 goals and 27 assists in 79 starts for the Bianconeri in all competitions.

Morata has faced criticism in recent days for his performances for Spain. The 28-year-old was booed by Spain fans for missing chances in the 0-0 friendly draw with Portugal and received similar focus after failing to score in the goalless draw with Sweden in La Roja's Euro 2020 opener on Monday.

Is another move on the cards for Keylor Navas?

Navas felt he had little choice but to leave when Real Madrid signed Thibaut Courtois in 2019.

He is facing a similar situation at Paris Saint-Germain, who are trying to lure Gianluigi Donnarumma to the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO EYEING NAVAS

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas is attracting interest from Manchester United, Juventus and Milan, according to Marca.

Navas' future is in doubt, with PSG reportedly poised to sign Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma on a free transfer.

This comes despite Costa Rica international Navas extending his PSG contract until 2024 in April.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Real Madrid are prepared to offer star captain Sergio Ramos a new contract. Ramos is set to become a free agent and the Spaniard is said to have been unhappy with the club's offering of a short-term deal on a reduced salary. The 35-year-old has been linked with former club Sevilla, United and PSG among others.

- Juventus have started preliminary talks to sign Bayern Munich's Corentin Tolisso, says Sky Sport Italia. Juve are also interested in Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

- The Telegraph reports Manchester City are now open to giving Raheem Sterling a new deal. Sterling has been linked with Arsenal and Madrid.

- Atalanta are dreaming of signing Juve defender Merih Demiral, reports Calciomercato. Lille's Sven Botman and Torino defender Lyanco are also targets amid centre-back Cristian Romero's links with United.

- Fabrizio Romano says there have been no talks between Arsenal and United regarding Donny van de Beek. The Netherlands international struggled for game time in his first season at Old Trafford.

- According to the Daily Star, United could tempt Tottenham into selling Harry Kane by offering Anthony Martial, who has also reportedly been offered to Madrid. Kane is believed to be keen on an exit amid links with City, Chelsea, Madrid, Barcelona and PSG.

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo insists his sole focus is on Euro 2020 and reports of interest from rival clubs are causing him no "sleepless nights".

Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juve in 2019, but the move has not worked out quite as planned.

Although the Bianconeri won the Serie A title for a ninth successive season in the forward's first campaign, they lost their crown to Inter this term and scraped Champions League qualification.

Success in Europe's premier club competition, which Ronaldo won five times with Manchester United and Madrid, continues to evade the Turin giants.

A frustrating season ended with Massimiliano Allegri returning to replace Andrea Pirlo, and there has been speculation Ronaldo could follow his coach out of the door.

Madrid, United and Paris Saint-Germain have been credited with an interest in a player who continues to deliver superb individual results.

Ronaldo's 29 goals in 2020-21 won the Capocannoniere, having previously also been the top scorer in the Premier League and LaLiga.

Since joining Juve, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than Ronaldo's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

The 36-year-old's 83 goal involvements rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Lionel Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Those returns would surely interest a host of clubs, but Ronaldo is not looking any further ahead than the Euros, with Portugal starting their title defence against Hungary on Tuesday.

"I've been playing at the highest level for many years. This doesn't faze me at all," Ronaldo said ahead of the Hungary game.

"If I were starting out, if I were 18 or 19, I'd have some sleepless nights. But I'm 36 years old and whatever comes will be for the best

"Regardless of staying in Juve or being transferred, the crucial thing is the Euros. For me, it's my fifth Euros, but it's like my first. I want to start on the right foot and we want to play a good match."

 

Ronaldo holds the record for the most games (21), most goals (nine, tied with Michel Platini) and most tournaments with at least one goal (four) at the European Championship.

With 104 international goals, he is also closing on Ali Daei's benchmark of 109.

Adding to that tally in the group stage of Euro 2020 will be tough, though, with Portugal drawn into a pool with Hungary, France and Germany. They have not won their opening game at a tournament since Euro 2008.

But Ronaldo is confident his side are ready, explaining: "If you tell me that we're going to lose tomorrow and win the Euros, that's my choice.

"But I think the team is ready, physically and emotionally. Our players are young, but that doesn't prevent us from dreaming. I'm sure we will have a great tournament and I know, for sure, all the players are ready."

Only Spain, in 2008 and 2012, have previously won back-to-back European Championships.

"We are not the same team as we were in 2016," Ronaldo added. "This is a younger team, a team with great potential and only by playing will we know if we are better or worse than 2016.

"On a personal level, I'm not the same player I was 18 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago. We keep adjusting. The most intelligent thing about a football player is the ability to adjust.

"I'm more mature. If a player wants to play for many years, he needs to know how to adjust and adapt.

"The numbers speak for themselves; from 18 to 36, I've learned to adapt regardless of winning silverware.

"On a personal level, I've always been able to win. The same on a collective level, too. I think I've adjusted throughout my career."

Gianluigi Buffon is considering several options as he plans to carry on playing, with the veteran goalkeeper heavily linked with a return to Parma.

Buffon announced he would be ending his second stint with Juventus following the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, though has made clear he is not ready to retire just yet.

The 43-year-old – who won 176 caps for Italy – has revealed he has offers from clubs set to compete in the Champions League, as well as the possibility of returning to his "origins".

It has been widely reported in the Italian media that Parma are close to tempting their former player back to potentially end his illustrious career where it all started.

Spanish heavyweights Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have also been linked with Buffon, who intends to reveal his future plans this week.

"On the table I have many proposals that touch different keys," he said when speaking to the Italian media on Monday.

"There are teams that make the Champions League and have offered me a leading role, others that aspire to win it but want me as a secondary option, and I only did that role for Juve.

"Then there would be the return to my origins, which produces different feelings and gives me the motivation I need to do well.

"I'm putting everything on the table and in three or four days I will decide, I have to figure out which is the best thing to be a leading protagonist."

Buffon came through Parma's academy in the early 1990s and went on to play over 200 games for them across all competitions. 

Juve made him the world's most expensive goalkeeper at the time in 2001, costing in the region of €52million. He left in 2018 to join Paris Saint-Germain, though headed back to Turin the following year.

During his time with Parma, Buffon won the the Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup and Supercoppa Italiana. However, a return would see him plying his trade in Serie B following their relegation from the top flight.

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