Massimiliano Allegri hailed Juventus' mental fortitude after responding to a troublesome period following their points deduction with victory at Salernitana.

Juve had not won in three Serie A games, including a 5-1 thrashing by Napoli and a surprise 2-0 defeat to Monza, while the club had also been docked 15 points following an investigation into past transfer dealings.

But Allegri's side bounced back on Tuesday with a dominant 3-0 victory at Salernitana as Dusan Vlahovic scored twice and assisted Serbia team-mate Filip Kostic for the other.

Victory moved Juve up to 10th, albeit some 13 points off fourth-placed Lazio, and Allegri heaped praise on his side's resilience amid a difficult time in Turin.

The Juve head coach told reporters: "The lads are responsible, we can tell each other many things, but I think it wasn't and isn't easy to keep your head in the championship after 15 points were taken away from you.

"We set ourselves some goals, which is to catch those in front of us. Then there's the Coppa Italia [semi-final] with Inter and the Europa League.

"It was important to win. We have 26 points, no one remembers that we scored 41 and we would be third in the standings. Look at the current standings."

Vlahovic took his tally to eight for the season with his first-half penalty and cool finish after the interval, with Allegri delighted to see his star striker returning to form, along with some vital minutes for Angel Di Maria.

"If Di Maria always plays 60 minutes, I'm happy, he's a champion. Vlahovic is coming back well, meanwhile [Moise] Kean has had important chances," Allegri added.

"We need all these players, it's normal that we need to improve in possession. We play every three days, so everyone is important."

Wrexham and their Hollywood owners will not get a blockbuster Premier League tie in this season's FA Cup after falling agonisingly short of the fifth round and a meeting with Tottenham.

The National League side, backed by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, would have faced Spurs had they won a replay against Sheffield United on Tuesday following a 3-3 draw in the original tie.

But Premier League hopefuls United delighted in dumping Wrexham out of the competition after a pair of late goals secured a 3-1 home win at Bramall Lane.

Wrexham had threatened to turn another gripping encounter on its head when Paul Mullin cancelled Anel Ahmedhodzic's opener from the penalty spot and then stepped up to take a second spot-kick, having earned both himself.

Blades goalkeeper Adam Davies brilliantly saved the second penalty, however, and the Championship side settled the tie on the counter-attack in the closing stages as Billy Sharp scored in the 94th minute and Sander Berge added a clincher in the 96th.

Sharp was particularly enthused by his role in eliminating Wrexham, having been frustrated by the underdogs' attitude to facing United, as he explained afterwards.

"It was a great cup tie over the two games," Sharp told ITV Sport. "[Wrexham] played excellent. I think they've been disrespectful, though.

"There were a few things before the game, thinking they were already through. I'm glad we've beat them.

"They're doing well in their league, we're doing well in ours. I wasn't happy with a few of their players tonight, but we've got one over on them. Good luck to them for promotion.

"Hopefully we've put that one to bed now, because a few of their players I wasn't happy with.

"I was a little bit frustrated at the end – I probably should have put the game to bed before I did, but it's one of those things. I wanted to win and wanted to get through to the next round."

Asked to expand on his comments, Sharp added of Wrexham: "I wasn't happy with the way they've been as a club. Before the game, they were eyeing up Spurs and they've not even beaten us.

"We're an honest set of lads and we want to go as far as we can in this competition. If we get beat in the next round, so be it. We'll give it a right go.

"I think they thought we were just going to roll over when they get back in it. I think the referee was helping them all night, as well. I don't think he gave me one foul all night tonight, but it's one of those things.

"I've probably lost my head a little bit, but I've got a smile on my face because we've got through to the next round of the cup and the boys deserve it."

Deadpool star Reynolds wrote on Twitter: "So proud of these boys. And the 4,000 plus away supporters who gave it all."

McElhenney, the creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, added: "I could not be more proud of those men than I am right now. They gave it absolutely everything."

The owners would have been concerned by the sight of star striker Mullin hobbling off injured, but McElhenney said in a second post: "Now let’s go win this f***ing league."

RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban could miss the Bundesliga clash with Union Berlin on Saturday as he attempts to save a life.

The defender will undergo a procedure to donate his stem cells in Dresden on Wednesday after recently finding he is a match for a patient who has blood cancer.

Orban, who has been registered with the DKMS (German national bone marrow donor registry) since 2017, has been taking special injections since Saturday in order to increase the number of stem cells in his bloodstream.

The 30-year-old may sit out the showdown between his fourth-placed side and a Union side that are in second place due to having a much more important commitment.

He told the club's official website: "Of course I was surprised when I received the info that I was a match. I without a doubt wanted to make the donation as soon as possible.

"I have the chance to potentially save another person's life with very little effort. It was a no-brainer. I hope my donation will help the recipient to recover from their illness.

"I might of course miss the Union game but even with my sporting ambitions, football is of secondary importance. Those who know me know that I will do everything I can in order to rejoin the team as soon as possible.

"I hope this inspires more people to register. The process was really simple and I feel like I've been very well looked after. My example shows that it makes total sense to register."

Juventus returned to winning ways in Serie A after Dusan Vlahovic scored two and assisted the other in a comfortable 3-0 victory at Salernitana on Tuesday.

Massimiliano Allegri's side, seemingly shaken by their 15-point deduction, had not won any of their previous three league games but responded with a dominant performance at Stadio Arechi.

Vlahovic's 28th-minute penalty set the visiting Bianconeri on their way before the Serbia international fortuitously assisted compatriot Filip Kostic on the stroke of half-time.

Star man Vlahovic added his second after 47 minutes as victory moved a resurgent Juve up to 10th, albeit some 13 points behind fourth-placed Lazio.

Vlahovic headed an inviting Mattia De Sciglio cross over in an otherwise uneventful opening, but the striker made amends just before the half-hour mark.

A needless foul inside the area from Juve loanee Hans Nicolussi on Fabio Miretti offered the visitors the chance of the breakthrough, and Vlahovic powered in from the penalty spot with the help of Guillermo Ochoa's left post.

Vlahovic then wastefully dragged wide and made a similar connection with a poor right-footed volley, only for the latter miscued attempt to find Kostic, who poked in the second goal at the back post.

A delicate Nicolo Fagioli throughball teed up Vlahovic to add to his tally after the interval, the striker slotting a cool left-footed finish low past the onrushing Ochoa.

Angel Di Maria's fizzing strike cannoned against the crossbar and Moise Kean was denied by Ochoa's left post as Juve returned to form in emphatic fashion.

What does it mean? Juve back on track after Allegri warning

A 5-1 thrashing by runaways leaders Napoli and a 2-0 surprise defeat to Monza in Juve's last three league games, either side of a 3-3 draw with Atalanta, had caused Allegri some concern.

With Juve docked 15 points following an investigation into past transfer dealings, Allegri warned the Bianconeri they must first hit the 40-point mark to stave off an unlikely relegation.

Juve took a step towards doing that with an assured performance to move onto 26 points, though they have significant ground to make up for a place in Europe, trailing Italy's top six by 12.

Vlahovic's Salernitana hot streak continues

Vlahovic has now scored five goals in four league matches against Salernitana, with a brace for Fiorentina and three strikes for new club Juve, including his double in this game.

The first-half strike was Vlahovic's 14th goal from the spot from 15 attempts in Serie A – the best success rate (93 per cent) among players to take 15 or more penalties in the competition since his debut in 2018.

Concern for Miretti

Promising young midfielder Miretti won the penalty for Vlahovic's opener before leaving the field on a stretcher after 40 minutes with what appeared a concerning lower-leg injury.

The 19-year-old, who has enjoyed his breakthrough season for Juve this term, suffered the injury in a tackle with Boulaye Dia, and Allegri will be hoping the blow was not as bad as it first appeared.

What's next?

Juve are at home to Fiorentina on Sunday, while Salernitana visit Hellas Verona the following day.

Salem Al Dawsari scored two first-half penalties as Al Hilal beat 10-man Flamengo 3-2 to reach their first Club World Cup final on Tuesday.

Al Dawsari opened the scoring from the spot for the Saudi Arabian champions only four minutes into the semi-final at Stade Ibn-Batouta after Matheuzinho was adjudged to have fouled Luciano Vietto.

The in-form Pedro equalised for the Copa Libertadores champions after 20 minutes with a clinical side-footed finish.

A huge moment in the game came deep into first-half stoppage time, when Gerson was sent off for a second bookable offence after he caught Vietto in the box and referee Istvan Kovacs pointed to the spot after a lengthy check on the pitchside monitor.

Al Dawsari made no mistake once again from 12 yards out, and Vietto fired in off the crossbar with his right foot with 20 minutes to play to put the champions of Asia in command in Tangier.

Pedro's sixth goal in four games for Flamengo in the closing stages set up a tense finale, but Al Hilal hung on to ensure they will face Real Madrid or Al Ahly in the final on Saturday.

 

Sarina Wiegman is not making any early call on Beth Mead's involvement in this year's Women's World Cup.

Mead won the Player of the Tournament award and the Golden Boot as England celebrated an historic triumph at their home Women's Euro 2022.

The Arsenal striker also finished in second place in last year's Ballon d'Or Feminin voting and would have a key role to play for Wiegman's Lionesses in Australia and New Zealand in July.

But Mead's status ahead of the finals is uncertain as she continues her recovery from an ACL tear in November.

As Wiegman named her latest England squad on Tuesday, she was asked if consideration had been given to plans that did not include Mead.

But featuring at the World Cup remains a target for the 27-year-old.

"It's a little early to say. I don't want to push it. She's had so many things going on," Wiegman said of Mead, whose mother died last year from ovarian cancer.

 

"We'll see how her rehabilitation goes, then we'll look at the future. I don't want her to look too far forward right now because of her situation.

"She had of course other private issues. I left the knee situation until now as I just wanted her to be okay and get settled with the situation and sadness she had around her.

"She told me she's doing well. She really wants to make [the World Cup]. First, she needs to settle and we will see from there. For now, I won't push that."

Carlo Ancelotti suggested Spanish football has a "problem" with racism after Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior was abused again on Sunday.

LaLiga launched an investigation on Monday after social media footage showed racist insults being directed at Vinicius during Madrid's 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was subjected to racist abuse in both of Madrid's matches with city rivals Atletico Madrid this season, while LaLiga filed hate crime charges to Spanish courts after similar incidents in December's game with Real Valladolid.

Vinicius accused LaLiga in December of "doing nothing" to combat racism, and his head coach feels Spanish football must face up to the issue.

"The question I ask is this: What is the problem?" Ancelotti told reporters. "Vinicius? Vinicius' team-mates? What's the problem? To defend himself? What does Vinicius have to defend himself against? What do his team-mates have to defend themselves against? I don't know.

"It seems like the problem is Vinicius, but the problem is what happens around him. Period.

"It is a problem of Spanish football. I am a part of Spanish football and I think it's a problem that we have to solve. Because it seems that Vinicius is the culprit, but he is the victim of something that I don't understand."

Federico Valverde defended Vinicius' exuberant playing style after he was fouled 10 times against Mallorca – the most by any Madrid player in a Spanish top-flight match since Isco against Real Betis in August 2013.

Vinicius has won 79 fouls in LaLiga this season, 25 more than any other player, and Valverde feels Madrid's players must stand up for him to counter any opposition roughhouse tactics.

"He is an incredible person, with a lot of values," Valverde said ahead of Madrid's Club World Cup semi-final against Egyptian side Al Ahly on Wednesday. "On the pitch, he tries to enjoy it, that's the way he is.

"I always say that so many fouls on the pitch is part of the game, we have to defend him as team-mates.

"Another thing is racism and what happens on the pitch, [there is] so much anger. He is a 22-year-old boy. I think Vinicius deserves respect."

World Cup holders Argentina have officially confirmed a joint bid alongside Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile to host the 2030 edition of the tournament.

A bid from Argentina and Uruguay had initially been announced in 2017 but has since expanded.

Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and would welcome the global showpiece for its centenary edition if successful.

Speaking upon confirmation of the four-way bid, Argentine Football Association president Claudio Tapia laid out his hopes to bring the tournament back to the continent where it was first held.

"We have the possibility of hosting this World Cup," he said. "It has the history, the essence, the passion with which we South Americans live football.

"Today is a very important day for the history of these four countries, of these four federations that some time ago began with a dream

"We know that this is a very big commitment and that we must show the world that Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile are up to the job of hosting the 2030 World Cup."

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez echoed those sentiments, adding: "Today we have a team, [and] we believe in greatness.

"We are convinced that FIFA has the obligation to honour the memory of those who preceded us and made the first World Cup possible."

There is scope yet for the bid to be bolstered by a fifth nation, with Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez adding that he hopes to see Bolivia also host games.

"This candidacy is from the entire continent," he tweeted. "For this reason, I would like, and I am going to propose, that our brother country Bolivia be part of this dream."

Christophe Galtier wants cool heads when Paris Saint-Germain step into the Stade Velodrome cauldron to face Marseille on Wednesday, recognising a crunch phase of the season has arrived.

Marseille-born Galtier, who began his playing career with the south-coast team, leads PSG into a Classique at the last-16 stage of the Coupe de France.

It is a meeting of the top two teams in Ligue 1, and PSG will be back in Marseille later in the month for a clash in league competition.

The Parisians also face Monaco and Lille in February, and they host the first leg of the keenly anticipated Champions League last-16 showdown with Bayern Munich next Tuesday.

Asked about pressure during what is his first term at the helm, Galtier said: "There is pressure from the moment you sign the contract. You have to get results.

"It is a month with a lot at stake. We will be playing in three competitions: the league, then tomorrow is a knockout game, and then the tie against Bayern Munich which everyone is looking forward to. That is also a knockout. There is a lot at stake and there are a lot of expectations this month."

Sergio Ramos and Neymar are available after injury, but Kylian Mbappe remains absent with a thigh problem.

Lionel Messi, after his winning goal against Toulouse on Saturday, will again be a player PSG look to for leadership.

"It is not just a last-16 tie but a Classique," Galtier said.

The coach is taking unusual measures to keep his mind on the job, even apparently snubbing family.

"I am trying to close everything from the outside that could be reaching my phone from family members so that I can stay focused on preparing for the game," Galtier added.

"We will need to be ourselves and play at our best level. We will need to be very good technically and have the ability to play under pressure from the opposition.

"Regarding the context, all my players have played in these sorts of games before."

It is this reason that encourages Galtier to believe his team should be able to cope with what should be a raucous atmosphere, feeding tensions on the pitch.

"We can't be overcome by dissent," he said. "There could be incidents on the pitch. It is the biggest game of the year for many people, so we need to stay clear-headed.

"I don't tell them to stay calm, because if you are calm you will fall asleep. You simply need to be clear-headed and play with quality."

Lionel Messi held talks with Inter over a potential move to the Italian giants after leaving Barcelona, Javier Zanetti has revealed.

Messi left Barca in 2021 after lifting 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies with the club, eventually opting to sign for Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain.

But Zanetti, a former team-mate of Messi with Argentina and now vice-president of Inter, says there was a chance the diminutive forward could have joined the 19-time Serie A champions before he chose PSG.

Zanetti pointed to Inter's financial inferiority with their rivals for Messi's signature as the main reason for him going elsewhere, telling DAZN: "I was surprised when he left Barcelona.

"Realistically, we cannot compete with PSG or Premier League clubs, but due to our rapport, we spoke when there was a chance."

Messi has since won a Ligue 1 title with PSG while also finally earning World Cup glory with Argentina, while Inter have struggled to replicate the form that saw them end a 10-year wait for another Serie A title in the 2020-21 campaign.

After missing out on retaining the title by two points to rivals Milan last season, the Nerazzurri are running out of time to overhaul a 13-point gap to leaders Napoli this campaign with Luciano Spalletti's team showing no signs of slowing down the rampant pace that has seen them win 18 of their 21 top-flight games.

The Partenopei's sole defeat came at the hands of Inter in January, and Zanetti has mixed feelings about his team's efforts this term, saying: "We could have done more in the league. We miss some points, but it's part of a path that this team is consistently carrying out.

"Mistakes are normal with such a packed fixture list, but I've always seen a team that wants to impose its style, trying to cause trouble for opponents.

"We've been able to react to difficulties and I find that some criticism has been exaggerated."

Centre-back Milan Skriniar will join Messi at PSG next season after choosing to turn down a new contract with Inter and instead make the move to France at the end of his current deal.

Zanetti hopes Skriniar will remain in the right headspace to help Inter to the best of his capabilities over the rest of the season, with Simone Inzaghi's side still fighting for silverware in the Champions League and Coppa Italia alongside their league duties, having already lifted the Supercoppa Italiana by thrashing Milan 3-0 in Saudi Arabia last month.

"We offered him a contract within our financial reach, but he made a different choice," Zanetti added. "Now we need to put him in the best condition to give his best until the end of the season."

Christian Atsu has been pulled from the rubble of a building "with injuries" after the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

There was concern for the Hatayspor winger when reports emerged search and rescue teams were still looking for him, as well as the club's sporting director Taner Savut, after the tremors.

The earthquakes are estimated to have killed more than 5,000 people, with Hatay one of the most affected areas due to its close proximity to the epicentre.

But Hatayspor's vice-president Mustafa Ozat released positive news that Atsu, who made 107 league appearances for Newcastle United between 2016 and 2020, was alive when pulled from a collapsed building, though Savut remains in the rubble.

"Christian Atsu was removed from the wreckage with injuries," Ozat told Radyo Gol. "Unfortunately, our sporting director Taner Savut is still under the rubble.

"Hatay was deeply affected. We are coming towards the end of the most dangerous hours."

The Ghana Football Association tweeted: "We've received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment.

"Let's continue to pray for Christian."

Chelsea have hired the All Blacks mind coach who introduced a "no d***heads" policy as Graham Potter looks to turn the Blues into winners.

Heavy investment in players since Todd Boehly came in as owner has not yet been followed by success on the pitch, with Chelsea a disappointing ninth in the Premier League.

Thomas Tuchel was sacked in September and his replacement, Potter, is battling to prove he can be the coach to deliver strong results and trophies to Stamford Bridge.

Now Gilbert Enoka is heading to the London club after making an impressive impact in rugby union with New Zealand over the past 20 years.

Enoka, who stepped up from being mental skills coach to become leadership manager with New Zealand, will join up with Chelsea on what New Zealand said was a "short-term consultancy basis".

The incoming expertise should be a boost to Potter, with the widely acclaimed Enoka having been part of an All Blacks set-up that won Rugby World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015.

Chelsea have spent around £600million on new players in the past two transfer windows, without their sprees having had any obviously positive effect on results, and installing a positive mindset appears to be what they are looking at achieving.

Enoka revealed in early 2017 how his famous policy functioned within the New Zealand ranks, saying: "A d***head makes everything about them.

"We look for early warning signs and wean the big egos out pretty quickly. Our motto is, 'If you can't change the people, change the people'."

Manchester United will reportedly aim to sell Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial and Alex Telles after the season to fund the purchase of a new marquee talent.

The Old Trafford side are said to be investigating a number of targets expected to cost in excess of £100million, including Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

United are very familiar with Premier League stars and England internationals Kane and Rice, while Osimhen has enjoyed a rise to prominence this season with the Serie A leaders.

With 16 goals in 17 league appearances this campaign, the 24-year-old Nigerian has already set a new personal best goal tally, and he has been one of the driving forces for a Napoli team sitting 13 points clear at the top.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED IDENTIFY LIKELY SALES TO FUND NEW SIGNING

According to the Manchester Evening News, Telles, Maguire and Martial have all been identified as players United would like to cash-in on to at least partially pay for a new £100m signing.

That report states Kane and Osimhen are the primary targets, as well as Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos and Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus.

Meanwhile, Talksport adds that United had a £100m bid for Rice turned down by West Ham before the season, but that he could be pried away at the end of the campaign for £120m plus add-ons.

United are willing to pay £107m (€120m) for Osimhen, and they expect competition from Chelsea, per The Express.

 

ROUND-UP

– AS is reporting United are interested in 29-year-old Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco. Barcelona have the option to purchase the Belgian for €20m, but if they pass, Atletico will listen to offers from the Premier League.

Paris Saint-Germain will rival Barcelona in the pursuit of Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva, per Le10Sport.

– According to The Athletic, Real Madrid believe Jude Bellingham will choose the Premier League if he leaves Borussia Dortmund. 

– 90min is reporting Chelsea are scouting 23-year-old Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa as they look to address the position at the end of the season.

Inter have added 25-year-old Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo to their list of potential replacements for outgoing centre-back Milan Skriniar, per Tuttomercatoweb.

Sportswear powerhouse Adidas and the Jamaica Football Federation on Monday officially unveiled the first collection under their four-year apparel deal, which was designed by Grace Wales Bonner, including home and away jerseys, a pre-match jersey and an anthem jacket.

Crafted for the Reggae Boyz (Men’s Team) and Reggae Girlz (Women’s Team), the collection is available for purchase from today via www.adidas.com and select adidas stores and retailers.

The home jersey features the country’s national colours of black, gold, and green. The energy of the island is highlighted by fine pinstripe details that decorate the shirt, echoing the subtle groove of Jamaican music and style.

A woven team badge on the chest and Wales Bonner signoff on the back neck complete the eye-catching look.

The away jersey was crafted to represent the collective memories of proud Jamaicans and celebrates a commitment to fine craftsmanship, with its premium collar and cuffs in the signature Wales Bonner crochet texture.

“As a British born designer with Jamaican heritage, my work has always been imbued by cultural references from all sides of my identity. This collection is no different, when working with adidas and the Jamaica Football Federation, we set out to create a range that reflects the diverse nature and soul of today's Jamaica, authentically connecting with the Jamaican community across the globe,” said Wales Bonner.

As we celebrate the intrinsic relationship between Jamaican culture and football, it’s a collection that I’m hoping players and fans can wear with huge pride - on and off the pitch,” she added.

JFF President Michael Ricketts also gave his remarks.

“Ahead of an exciting year for our Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz teams, we’re incredibly proud to unveil these very exciting team kits and sportswear. We believe these designs captures the essence of Jamaica’s culture, as it not only represents Jamaican football but through the mixture of the distinctive Jamaican colours and the designs, highlights the greatest part of our world-renowned Jamaican culture.

We can’t wait to see Jamaican fans and players alike wearing the kits with pride on the world’s biggest sporting stages, as they cheer on the Reggae Boyz and Girlz.

With a bold ambition to further develop the opportunities for girls and boys to play grassroots football at home in Jamaica, this only marks the start of what we are certain will be an incredibly important partnership to inspire future Reggae Girlz and Reggae Boyz.”   

 

 

 

 

 

Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer feels it is "incomprehensible" that Manuel Neuer went public with his criticism of the Bundesliga champions for sacking Toni Tapalovic.

Neuer described the Bundesliga champions' decision to relieve goalkeeping coach Tapalovic of his duties as "the most brutal thing I've experienced in my career".

The Bayern captain added that the departure of his mentor while he is recovering from the broken leg he sustained during a ski trip in December was "a blow – when I was already down on the ground".

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic have made it clear they were not impressed with the Germany international's comments.

Hainer also criticised the long-serving Neuer on Monday.

"It is incomprehensible and disappointing for us that Manuel did not seek the way to us, but went directly to the public," he said.

"I'm even more disappointed than angry, because I would have thought that Manuel – who has been with us for so long – has so much trust and comes to us first to discuss it. 

"I support one hundred per cent what Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic said."

Hainer ruled out terminating Neuer's contract, but there are doubts over whether he will retain the captaincy.

"We will now sit down with him and work through everything calmly and professionally," Hainer said.

"The most important thing now is that Manuel gets well again and can play. And then we'll see."

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