Jose Mourinho believes Paulo Dybala is unlikely to feature for Roma again this year after the Argentine suffered an injury in Sunday's 2-1 win over Lecce.

Dybala stroked home the winner from the penalty spot after Gabriel Strefezza cancelled out Chris Smalling's sixth-minute opener, finding the net for a third successive Serie A game.

However, the forward began to limp and clutch his left thigh in the immediate aftermath of his goal, and appeared to be in tears on the bench after being withdrawn.

Dybala's return of six goals in 10 appearances for Roma this term is a team-high tally (in all competitions), but Mourinho could now be without the 28-year-old for a lengthy period.

Asked about Dybala's condition after the win, Mourinho told DAZN: "I say bad, but I think very, very bad. 

"I am not a doctor, but in my experience, and after speaking to Paulo, it's unlikely we'll see him this year."

If Dybala is ruled out for a prolonged period, it would also represent a blow for Argentina ahead of the World Cup, with the forward having won 34 senior caps for the Albiceleste.

Meanwhile, despite Roma staying within a point of Serie A's top four with the victory, Mourinho was displeased with their game management after the visitors had captain Morten Hjulmand sent off. 

"There was fatigue, both physical and mental. Playing Thursdays and Sundays is tough," Mourinho said. "When I see Udinese and Atalanta [who drew 2-2 earlier on Sunday], I understand that they don't play midweek. 

"We entered very well, with intensity and ambition. After that it was more difficult because we managed it badly; when you are tired, instead of playing simply you complicate things.

"Today we didn't play well and we won, with Atalanta we played better and we lost [1-0 last month]. We have to manage tiredness better."

Pedri was the hero for Barcelona as they saw off a LaLiga challenge from Celta Vigo to take an unpersuasive 1-0 win on Sunday.

Despite a bright, almost bombastic start from Xavi's side, the Blaugrana gradually faded once again in defence of an early lead, ultimately escaping with all three points intact.

A week on from a similar performance against Mallorca, questions may be lingering about Barca's prowess, even as they sit top of the table.

Yet after the sting of a Champions League loss to Inter in midweek, the Catalans were at least back to winning ways, while Celta were left to rue their difficulty in securing a draw.

A dominant start from Barcelona hinted at a blowout scoreline, and Pedri's poacher's finish following a deflection in the 17th minute certainly whet the appetite.

But a subsequent struggle to find a second goal before the break did little to dispel a nervous air around Camp Nou, especially with just under a dozen chances otherwise squandered by the hosts.

That gnawing unease manifested itself in a markedly scratchier start to the second half, during which Celta gradually began to impose more of a threat.

Such pressure seemed to tell when Jorgen Strand Larsen headed home with 20 minutes left, but the offside flag spared Barca's blushes, and from there they held on all the way for a less-than-convincing result.

Lyon sacked head coach Peter Bosz on Sunday and confirmed his successor will be Laurent Blanc.

The seven-time French champions lost patience with Dutchman Bosz, whose second season at the club began brightly but has quickly deteriorated.

After taking 13 points from their opening five Ligue 1 games, suggesting they might challenge at least for a Champions League place, Lyon went into free-fall.

They halted a four-match losing run in the league when drawing 1-1 against Toulouse on Friday evening, but that point at home was not enough to save Bosz, a former Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen boss.

The dismal sequence of defeats had been Lyon's longest in the French top flight since March 1991, when they also had a four-game run of losses.

Lyon finished only eighth last season, missing out on qualification for all European competitions. It was their lowest league finish since the 1995-96 campaign, when they were 11th.

His replacement will be Blanc, the former Bordeaux, France and Paris Saint-Germain boss, who will officially take charge on Monday.

Blanc left PSG In June 2016, after a three-year reign that included Ligue 1 titles in each season.

His most recent coaching assignment came at Qatari club Al-Rayyan, with Blanc leaving that post in February after 14 months in charge.

A club statement confirmed Blanc has agreed a contract to run until the end of the 2023-24 season.

Carles Puyol has apologised for making a "clumsy joke" in response to a tweet from Iker Casillas' account on Sunday, after it appeared the former goalkeeper had come out as gay.

A post attributed to Real Madrid and Spain great Casillas read: "I hope you respect me: I'm gay."

Although the message was widely shared on social media, suspicions over its validity or seriousness emerged when Puyol replied to say it was time for the duo to "tell our story", followed by kissing and love-heart emojis.

Spanish media reports subsequently suggested Casillas' original message was an ironic response to rumours concerning a potential relationship with actress Alejandra Onieva.

Casillas has since claimed his account was hacked and apologised for offence caused, and former Barcelona captain Puyol has acknowledged his response was misguided.

"I have made a mistake. Sorry for a clumsy joke with no bad intentions and [which was] totally out of place," Puyol wrote on Twitter.

"I understand that it may have hurt sensitivities. All my respect and support for the LGTBIQA+ community."

Both players have been heavily criticised for what many believe to be an ill-judged joke, with Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo – who is regarded as the first openly gay professional male footballer – accusing the duo of being "disrespectful" with their messages.

Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany has revealed a deal has been struck to make Antoine Griezmann's loan spell at Atletico Madrid permanent.

Griezmann joined Atletico on a two-year loan deal last season, which reportedly contained a €40million purchase obligation if he played at least 30 minutes in a percentage of the team's games.

That clause has led Atletico to manage Griezmann's minutes in the season's early weeks; although the forward has appeared in all eight of Los Colchoneros' league games this campaign, he played under 30 minutes in six of those contests.

It was suggested the two LaLiga giants had reached an agreement worth €19.9million for Griezmann's services earlier this week, and Xavi intimated such reports were correct on Saturday.

Speaking at Barcelona's general assembly on Sunday, Alemany confirmed Griezmann was set to stay in Madrid, saying: "It has been closed this week.

"I think that, in my opinion, it has been important because we took away an important salary."

Alemany also discussed Barcelona's movements in the recent transfer window, in which they agreed big-money deals for the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde, as well as signing several free agents.

The Blaugrana director said those additions have brought additional quality to Camp Nou, also highlighting the importance of selling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Chelsea.

"Aubameyang's [sale] was an extraordinary operation, not only because economically it was good, but also because it generated fair play for us," he added.

"We have focused on renewing young players and cutting contracts for veteran players, with more than 30 years of age. 

"Increasingly we have to focus on the market of players who are free. This year we have done it with [Franck] Kessie, [Andreas] Christensen, Marcos Alonso and [Hector] Bellerin, and there are many more for the future. 

"On the other hand, Kounde, Raphinha and Lewandowski have given us a quality leap in the squad. 

"All three have shown that they wanted to come here. Lewandowski, despite the fact that he has just turned 34, what he shows us every day is that his real age is 24 years."

Franck Ribery's potential retirement could open the door to the Frenchman taking a non-playing role at Salernitana, says club president Danilo Iervolino.

Reports have suggested the 39-year-old winger, who captains the Serie A outfit, could announce his retirement as early as next week after suffering from a spate of knee injuries.

Having joined Salernitana from Fiorentina last year, the former France international has played just twice across all competitions this season, failing to appear since August.

Now, it appears that his time on the pitch is set to come to an end - but Iervolino has revealed discussions have taken place regarding the potential for him to assume a backroom role. 

"We are talking to each other," he told DAZN. "Frank is a great champion on and off the pitch, and he manages to bring out the best in everyone.

"He is a leader. We will put him in a role he wants. I would like him next to me."

 

Head coach Davide Nicola concurred, adding: "We asked him, [so] let's see. 

"He has such a high status that he can play any role. But I asked him to [stay] close [to us]. However, we will listen to what he says."

A nine-time Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich, Ribery has made 25 appearances in all competitions for Salernitana since joining the club in 2021.

Former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas claims he was hacked after a tweet from his Twitter account said he had come out as gay.

A post attributed to the 41-year-old on Sunday said: "I hope you respect me: I'm gay."

The tweet had a seismic impact on social media but suspicions over the validity of the message quickly emerged when an account in the name of his former Spain team-mate Carles Puyol replied 10 minutes later saying it was time for them "to tell our story", followed by kissing and love-heart emojis.

Both tweets rapidly went viral, before Spanish publication Diario AS claimed it was a response to show how Casillas was "fed up with the rumours" about a potential relationship with actress Alejandra Onieva.

Each message was eventually deleted, with Casillas then posting another tweet absolving himself of responsibility almost three hours after the initial message was sent.

"Hacked account. Luckily everything in order," wrote Casillas, who in 2020 ran for the presidency of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

"Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community."

By that point, both players had already been widely criticised for what many felt to be an ill-judged joke.

That was certainly the perception of Josh Cavallo, the Adelaide United player generally regarded to be the first openly gay professional male footballer, who suggested the former Clasico stars had been disrespectful about a serious topic prior to Casillas' brief explanation.

"Joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing," he wrote.

"It's a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ people have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful."

Casillas' apology was not immediately followed by a similar message from Puyol.

Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany has revealed he put up part of his own money to ensure the registration of Jules Kounde, after key players refused salary reductions.

The France defender arrived at Camp Nou ahead of the current campaign, but was unable to figure early on for the Blaugrana despite the activation of multiple financial levers.

Kounde was ultimately registered just before the transfer window shut, allowing him to make his competitive debut for Xavi's side, but the delay raised questions over why the club took so long.

Alemany revealed he and the rest of the club's board of directors were forced to stump up additional cash to ensure he could figure, hitting out at LaLiga's financial regulations.

"With €867million [worth] of levers, LaLiga told us that it was still not enough to register Kounde," he told the club's general assembly. "So, we had to guarantee."

The director further revealed the decision of key players - among them Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba - to refuse a slashed salary was what led to the board being forced to make the move.

"We found overpriced salaries compared to the market price," he added. "They blocked our ability to make transfers.

"These players are impossible to transfer, and otherwise enforce a tax on our fairplay restrictions. They are wage packets outside the market, and our goal is to make them disappear."

Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies has been diagnosed with a "bruised skull" following an incident in Saturday's Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund.

Davies was caught in the head by Jude Bellingham's foot after the pair challenged for a loose ball during the 2-2 draw at Signal Iduna Park.

The Canada international received treatment for the injury in the first half before being substituted at half-time.

Bayern confirmed on Sunday that the 21-year-old suffered a "bruised skull", though did not give any timescale for his return to action.

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann was not happy with the challenge and believed Bellingham, who had already been booked, should have received a red card.

Speaking after the game, Nagelsmann said: "He hits him in the face. The rules are clear. There is a suspicion of a concussion. That's not surprising given the kick in the face.

"Four months ago, we had a training course. They told us that a kick in the face is a red."

Gareth Southgate declared England must improve on their poor record against Italy after the two nations were drawn together in a "tough" Euro 2024 qualification group.

The teams faced each other in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium last year, with Italy emerging victorious on penalties to win their first European Championship trophy since 1968 and deny England their first major title in 55 years.

The sides also met twice in the recent Nations League campaign, playing out a goalless draw at Molineux in June before Giacomo Raspadori gave Italy a 1-0 triumph in the return fixture at San Siro in September.

The Three Lions have not beaten Italy in six attempts since a 2-1 victory in 2012, and Southgate says that run needs to end.

"England's record against Italy generally is not very good," Southgate told Sky Sports. "So we've got to improve that.

"There's not too many surprises, they've changed the team a lot for all of those different matches.

"We know the quality they have, we know the depth that they have."

England and Italy have been drawn in Group C alongside Ukraine, Malta and North Macedonia, the latter of whom knocked the Azzurri out of the World Cup play-offs earlier this year, preventing the European champions from making it to Qatar.

Southgate acknowledged the overall difficulty of the group, adding: "It's clearly a tough draw, given the quality of the opposition.

"But we've had draws in qualification that have probably been a little bit more comfortable than that, although I'd have to say Poland and Hungary in the last qualifying group was particularly tough as well, so we're used to that.

"The draws are what they are, it's how you perform on the day."

England have the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge on Italy for their Euro 2020 final defeat after the two nations were drawn together in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Wembley in London on July 11, 2021 to win their first European Championship title since 1968.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions had opened the scoring through Luke Shaw, but the Azzurri levelled via Leonardo Bonucci.

And spot-kick misses by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka proved costly for England, who had hoped to win a first major title in 55 years.

The two will tussle again – twice – on the road to Germany 2024 after being drawn together in qualifying Group C in Sunday's ceremony, which was held in Frankfurt.

Nevertheless, both teams will still expect to reach the finals given the top two in each group progress to the tournament - joining them will be Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta.

It was North Macedonia who knocked Italy out of the World Cup qualifying play-offs earlier this year.

Group B is another standout after the Netherlands were drawn alongside reigning world champions France in a pool that also contains Republic of Ireland, Greece and Gibraltar.

Spain will be confident of plotting a way through Group A, which also contains Scotland, Norway, Georgia and Cyprus, though Belgium may face a slightly sterner examination after being grouped with Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Estonia.

Qualifying is set to begin in March 2023 and conclude eight months later, with the winners and runners-up of each group going straight through to the tournament.

The remaining three teams will be decided in March 2024 via a play-off section, which will be made up of 12 group winners from the 2022-23 Nations League.

If a Nations League section winner has already qualified for Euro 2024, their play-off place will pass to the next best-ranked country from the same league.


Draw in full:

Group A: Spain, Scotland, Norway, Georgia, Cyprus
Group B: Netherlands, France, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Gibraltar
Group C: Italy, England, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Malta
Group D: Croatia, Wales, Armenia, Turkey, Latvia
Group E: Poland, Czech Republic, Albania, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group F: Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Estonia
Group G: Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Group H: Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland, San Marino
Group I: Switzerland, Israel, Romania, Kosovo, Belarus, Andorra
Group J: Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Liechtenstein

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United remains uncertain after he reportedly tried to leave in the offseason.

The Portugal great has struggled to break into United's starting XI in the Premier League this term.

And Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure in United's 3-2 win over Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday.


TOP STORY – MLS CLUB TO OFFER RONALDO A WAY OUT

David Beckham-owned MLS club Inter Miami are set to offer Cristiano Ronaldo a way out of Manchester United with a contract worth £30million per year, reports The Daily Star.

Ronaldo, who is a regular visitor to Florida, could make the move in January, with Phil Neville's Miami planning to replace Gonzalo Higuain, who announced his retirement last week.

One stumbling block, however, is that the deal is on the condition Ronaldo joins Inter on a free transfer, with United - who insisted on a fee when clubs enquired in the last transfer window - seemingly content to retain him for now.


ROUND-UP

– The Mirror claims Leeds United have agreed personal terms with PSV's Cody Gakpo, beating Manchester United in the pursuit for the 23-year-old Dutch forward. Leeds still need to thrash out a transfer fee with PSV for Gakpo to move in January.

Paris Saint-Germain have joined the long list of clubs pursuing Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk reports Fichajes. Arsenal, Newcastle United and Real Madrid are also keen on him.

PSG are also chasing a deal for Adrien Rabiot who is set to exit Juventus when his contract expires in mid-2023, according to Fichajes.

– El Nacional claims Real Madrid are interested in Benfica's 18-year-old centre-back Antonio Silva. Manchester United are also monitoring the Portuguese stopper.

– Manchester United's Diogo Dalot is being considered by Barcelona, who need to bolster their right-back options, reports Sport.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier confirmed a common Spanish insult was the cause of Sergio Ramos' bizarre red card against Reims, as he claimed referee Pierre Gaillouste failed to control the contest.

Ligue 1 leaders PSG dropped points for just the second time this season on Saturday after a 0-0 draw at Reims, failing to make the breakthrough against their struggling hosts after Ramos' red card.

Ramos received two yellow cards in less than a minute shortly before the break, having remonstrated strongly with the referee after tripping Marshall Munetsi.

The Spaniard's dismissal was the 21st of his league career (in LaLiga and Ligue 1) – at least seven more than any other defender in Europe's top five leagues has received this century.

Speaking after the draw, which leaves PSG three points clear of Marseille at the summit, Galtier stressed his belief that Ramos did not mean to offend Gaillouste.

"I know Sergio Ramos very well, I'm not sure that the insult that came out was directed at the referee," Galtier said. 

"It's an insult that you hear all the time on a training ground, that you hear a lot in Spain. The referee took it from him and kicked him out, I'm not going back [to speak] on that."

PSG faced 24 shots against Reims, the most they have had to contend with in a Ligue 1 match since December 2011 (against Saint Etienne), and Galtier was unhappy with their performance.

"There was a lot of nervousness that I can't explain, on both sides," Galtier added. "There were a lot of duels, clashes, neither of the two teams mastered the events. 

"None of the three parties, the teams and the referee, did control this game and there was a lot of nervousness."

Gaillouste has handed out six red cards in the six Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches he has refereed this season (four in Metz v Guingamp, one in Nantes v PSG, and one in this match).

Although Galtier disagreed with the decision to send Ramos off, he was equally irritated by the "stupid" nature of his red card, particularly given Ramos will now miss a meeting with Marseille next week.

"I will talk about it with them because there are sequences of matches. We need the maximum number of players," Galtier added. "Missing matches because we took stupid cards… obviously we have to fix that. I will talk about it with them."

PSG have only lost one of their last nine Ligue 1 games in which they received a red card and finished against 11 men (W4 D4), a 5-1 loss at Lille in April 2019. 

Carlo Ancelotti considered a "solid" defensive display cause for celebration as Real Madrid beat Getafe 1-0 to move above Barcelona at the LaLiga summit.

Los Blancos were far from their fluid best at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, but Eder Militao's third-minute header was enough to see them return to winning ways in the league after last weekend's 1-1 draw with Osasuna.

It was the first time Madrid had kept a clean sheet in eight LaLiga games this season, so Ancelotti was pleased in that regard, hailing his central defenders.

He was less enthused by Madrid in an attacking sense as they failed to add to their early opener.

"We were very solid and both Militao and [Antonio] Rudiger played a great game," he said. "We could have scored more goals, but at this point in the season that doesn't matter.

"Scoring early did not force us to be in a hurry, and we did not force our plays that much. We created many opportunities, but we did not score enough.

"The team has played very well, and we are satisfied. Last season here we were beaten, and today the team has been more solid.

"I asked the players not to risk passing late on and to ensure their passing was accurate because the score was very tight."

Madrid face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, before a mouth-watering Clasico clash against Barcelona next weekend.

Ancelotti rested Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy for the short trip to Getafe, and the Italian head coach suggested he is likely to rotate his side for the midweek match in Warsaw against their opponents from Ukraine.

He is trying to avoid talking about the Barcelona game for now, but that fixture is taking on major significance given both teams have started strongly.

"I think the Clasico is still a long way off," Ancelotti said. "I've rested Benzema and Mendy, and it may be that on Tuesday I can rotate a little more."

Eden Hazard was an unused substitute against Getafe and has been limited to just 98 minutes of league action so far this season.

Ancelotti, however, said the former Chelsea winger will be called upon in the coming matches.

"Hazard is training well and will have his chance very soon," the Madrid head coach added.

Edin Terzic applauded his Borussia Dortmund players for their "wild" comeback which brought about a dramatic 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich in Saturday's Klassiker.

Head coach Terzic saw his side fall two goals behind after Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sane both struck from long range.

He later suggested other teams would have folded at that point and crumpled to a heavy defeat, so Dortmund's resilience and refusal to buckle brought cause for celebration.

Youssoufa Moukoko narrowed the deficit in the 74th minute, and Anthony Modeste equalised in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he headed in Nico Schlotterbeck's cross.

The scenes of delirium inside Signal Iduna Park told their own story, with Dortmund halting a run of eight consecutive defeats to their great rivals.

"It was a very intense match," Terzic said. "In the first half in particular, we defended very well and kept it compact in the middle.

"The ball was in front of us. We gave away only that one shot at goal which made it 1-0. 

"At that point, it's not so easy to keep your discipline when the emotions and the desire to take risks are being transmitted to the team from the stands.

"You then need to be careful that you don't open up too early and that the gaps don't become too big."

Terzic responded to Sane's 53rd-minute strike by bringing on substitutes Karim Adeyemi, Modeste and Thorgan Hazard in an effort to save the game.

"It got wild towards the end; that was also the aim of the substitutions," Terzic said. "It was end to end.

"What was very positive was that we believed up until the last moment that something was still possible, even though we'd missed a huge opportunity to equalise in the 82nd minute."

Modeste scuffed his shot from Adeyemi's cross on that occasion, but after Bayern went down to 10 men, losing Kingsley Coman for a second bookable offence when he tugged at Adeyemi, there was a final twist to come.

"It was a very deserved point because we created many chances at the end," Terzic said. "When you're 2-0 down against Bayern, the match normally ends 4-0 or 5-0.

"That didn't happen today. We were able to put an exclamation mark behind the mentality question for today."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.