Inter have terminated the contract of Christian Eriksen by mutual consent, with the Denmark international unable to play in Serie A due to health regulations following his cardiac arrest.

Eriksen collapsed following a cardiac arrest in Denmark's Euro 2020 opener last June and was given CPR before subsequently undergoing successful heart surgery.

The former Tottenham man was then fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), which means he is unable to play for Inter in Serie A due to not meeting the "requirements of achieving sporting fitness" in Italy.

Eriksen would be allowed to play in other European leagues, as Daley Blind does for Ajax in the Eredivisie with an ICD fitted, and the 29-year-old has been using the training facilities of former club Odense to build up his fitness in Denmark.

The midfielder has returned to Inter on just the one occasion, visiting their training ground in early August, but Simone Inzaghi's side confirmed on Friday that Eriksen would be free to negotiate with other clubs after they parted ways.

"FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that an agreement has been reached to terminate Christian Eriksen's contract by mutual consent," the statement by Inter said. 

"The club and the entire Nerazzurri family wish Christian all the very best for his future.

"Although Inter and Christian are now parting ways, the bond shall never be broken. The good times, the goals, the victories, those Scudetto celebrations with fans outside San Siro – all this will remain forever in Nerazzurri history."

Eriksen was the part of the Inter side that ended a 10-year wait for the Scudetto last term under now-Tottenham manager Antonio Conte.

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi said the Nerazzurri can be proud of their efforts after moving top of Serie A, but insisted there is plenty of work still to be done.

Defending champions Inter moved a point clear of city rivals Milan at the Serie A summit following a 4-0 rout of Cagliari at San Siro on Sunday.

Lautaro Martinez scored twice – and missed a penalty – while Alexis Sanchez and Hakan Calhanoglu were also on target for high-flying Inter.

It was a dominant display as Inter enjoyed a whopping 75.2 per cent of the possession, registered 24 shots and, but for the heroics of Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, they could easily have extended their winning margin.

Inter are also through to the knockout stages of the Champions League and will discover their last-16 opponents in Monday's draw.

Inzaghi was pleased with the way his players responded from their midweek defeat to Real Madrid, but maintained they cannot afford to take anything for granted.

"The lads did really well. I had asked for concentration and focus, as I saw this weekend so many big clubs struggle after European games," he told DAZN.

"I knew Cagliari would be organised, and we needed the right approach. I congratulated them at half-time for their attitude as, although it was only 1-0, they had the right performance, and we just needed to convert more of those chances.

"We are top of the table; we reached the Champions League round of 16 after 11 years, so it's hard to do better."

Inter have won 18 home games in 2021 and have never done better in a single calendar year in Serie A.

Meanwhile, Inter scored 98 goals in Serie A this year, only in 1950 the Nerazzurri scored more goals (99) in a calendar year in the top flight.

"I knew we were playing well from the very start; that was 23 games ago, but there's a long road ahead. We've done well to put together a run of positive results," Inzaghi added.

"Now that we are top, naturally we want to stay there. However, we were seven or eight points off the top just a month ago, so we know it's a tricky and very open season.

"Our aim for Christmas was to reach the Champions League round of 16, because Inter deserved to be there after 11 years, and we did it with a game in hand. Now, we can focus on Serie A for the next few weeks."

Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter went top of Serie A with a commanding 4-0 win over Cagliari at San Siro.

Martinez, who also had a penalty saved, opened the scoring with a first-half header and Alexis Sanchez doubled the lead shortly after the restart.

Hakan Calhanoglu’s thumping 25-yard strike increased the advantage, before Martinez put the icing on the cake by taking his Serie A tally for the season to 10 with a neat finish.

Simone Inzaghi's side moved a point clear of city rivals Milan at the summit of the table after an eighth win in 10 league meetings with the Rossoblu.

No team have scored more goals from set-pieces than Inter in Serie A this season.

So it was no surprise that the hosts netted another to open the scoring against the side that had conceded the most in the Italian top flight, with Martinez powerfully heading in from Calhanoglu’s corner just before the half-hour mark.

Martinez had a great chance to add a second just before the break after Denzel Dumfries was brought down by Alessio Cragno in the box, but the goalkeeper redeemed himself by guessing correctly to keep out the spot-kick.

Inter doubled their lead within five minutes of the restart as Sanchez neatly guided home Nicolo Barella's cross on the volley.

Calhanoglu got in on the act 66 minutes in as he beat Cragno with a stunning long-range strike.

Martinez was on target again two minutes later; latching onto Barella's lofted through ball before slotting in his sixth league goal against Cagliari in seven appearances.

Sanchez rattled the bar late on as the defending champions made an emphatic statement as they rose to the summit.

Manchester United's search for a permanent new manager continues to roll on.

Ralf Rangnick has taken over on an interim basis following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's axing.

Several big names have been linked with the vacant post.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TOP OF MAN UTD'S LIST

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag has moved to the head of the queue to be Manchester United's new manager, claims The Mirror.

Ten Hag guided Ajax through a record-breaking Champions League group campaign where they won all six games.

United have now made appointing him their priority as he ticks all the boxes for the 20-time English champions.

 

ROUND-UP

- Newcastle United have reached out to Manchester United about the prospect of a January move for Jesse Lingard, claims The Sun.

- Tottenham are tracking Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, joining Manchester City and Manchester United in pursuit of him, reports the Daily Star.

- Liverpool have set a £10million asking price for West Ham target Nat Phillips, according to The Sun.

- The Reds are also interested in signing Real Madrid winger Rodrygo and are willing to pay £68m (€80m), reports El Nacional.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Inter have not held any talks with Stefan dr Vrij amid links with Tottenham and Newcastle United.

- Brazilian powerhouse Corinthians have enquired about Manchester United's veteran Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani, claims Globo Esporte.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hit another career milestone after netting his 300th goal across Europe's top five leagues.

The Milan veteran scored a spectacular stoppage-time equaliser against Udinese on Saturday in what was his 450th appearance in the top five leagues.

That took Ibrahimovic to 300 goals in those competitions – the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, LaLiga and Ligue 1.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have reached that mark previously in the 21st century.

Ibrahimovic has featured in four of the top five leagues, with the Bundesliga the only competition missing off his list.

Having joined Juventus in 2004 from Ajax, the Sweden striker has gone on to play for Inter, Barcelona, Milan (over two spells), Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic has now scored seven Serie A goals this term. He netted 15 last season and 10 in 2019-20 after he returned to Milan following a stint in MLS with the LA Galaxy.

The 40-year-old scored 17 goals in his sole full season in the Premier League with United, averaging a strike every 143 minutes.

His best minutes-per-goal ratio across a full league campaign so far came in his final season at PSG in 2015-16 (67), in which he also set up a career-high 13 league goals for team-mates.

Ibrahimovic scored 38 times in Ligue 1 that season, with an impressive shot conversion rate of 24.52 per cent from 155 attempts.

He has scored 30 or more league goals on two occasions, in 2015-16 and in 2012-13, also with PSG.

Ibrahimovic's maiden season in one of the big five leagues produced 16 goals for Juve. He failed to settle at Barca under Pep Guardiola but still contributed 16 LaLiga goals in 2009-10.

Just over half of his goals have have been scored in Italy (154), while 113 came in Ligue 1.

Barcelona's financial issues mean they need to get crafty in January transfer window.

The Catalans lost Lionel Messi during the off-season and have struggled this term.

Barca were bundled out of the Champions League this week but will be keen to rescue their season.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA PLOT RASHFORD SWOOP

Barcelona are planning to swoop for Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, according to El Nacional.

The stumbling block may be United's asking price for Rashford, but the Blaugrana believe they can prise him away based on opportunity.

Rashford has been in and out of United's starting line-up and Barca plan to offer him the chance to lead their attack.

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Georginio Wijnaldum could leave Paris Saint-Germain for Inter in January as part of a swap deal involving Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatia midfielder is out of contract at the end of this season.

Joao Felix could join Manchester City from Atletico Madrid, with his agent Jorge Mendes trying to engineer the switch, Calciomercato says.

Liverpool have an eye on Leeds United's Raphinha and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen ahead of the January transfer window, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Chelsea are considering a move for Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, reports El Nacional.

- Brazilian giants Palmeiras want to sign Real Madrid full-back Marcelo, reports Mundo Deportivo. The former Brazil international's contract with Los Blancos expires at the end of this season.

Ajax and Juventus have their eyes on Bayern Munich teenager Kenan Yildiz, according to Fanatik.

Is a Leeds United midfielder ready to reject a switch to Old Trafford?

Typically, Manchester United are too big to turn down but Kalvin Phillips is believed to be willing to withstand their interest due to the rivalry between the two clubs.

The beneficiaries of such a decision? Liverpool apparently.

 

TOP STORY – PHILLIPS TO TURN DOWN MAN UTD

Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips will snub a move to Manchester United in favour of Premier League rivals Liverpool, according to The Sun.

Phillips has emerged as a target for Leeds' bitter rivals United, while Liverpool are also admirers of the England international.

Wary of the backlash a move to Old Trafford would cause among Leeds fans, Phillips is ready to reject United and join Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are plotting a move for Everton star Richarlison, claims Fichajes. The Brazil international scored against Arsenal on Monday, while he has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Borussia Dortmund have made direct contact with Salzburg star Karim Adeyemi. The Germany international is Dortmund's main target as clubs queue up to sign Erling Haaland, who is wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

- Tuttomercato says Franck Kessie could leave Milan on a free transfer. The soon-to-be free agent has been linked with Tottenham, Inter, PSG and United.

Fiorentina are poised to sign Lille star Jonathan Ikone, per Gianluca Di Marzio. The deal is reportedly not related to the future of wantaway forward Dusan Vlahovic – the Serbia international has been linked with City, United, Bayern, Inter, Juve, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Carlo Ancelotti is not getting carried away over Real Madrid's Champions League prospects despite Tuesday's 2-0 win at home to Inter sealing top spot in Group D.

Madrid just needed to avoid a defeat to go through to the knockout phase as group winners, but they ultimately battled to a commendable victory over the Italian champions.

Toni Kroos netted a glorious first-half opener, before a similarly satisfying Marco Asensio curler wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time.

As such, Madrid will – theoretically – get a kinder draw than runners-up Inter in the last 16, potentially setting them up nicely to reach the quarter-finals.

Los Blancos went as far as the last four in 2020-21 following back-to-back round-of-16 eliminations, though Ancelotti is not making any sweeping statements regarding their chances of going deeper into the competition this time around.

He told reporters: "We have the quality to win LaLiga and the quality to compete in the Champions League.

"There are no teams with the quality [guaranteed] to win the Champions League, just to compete.

"There are more intense teams, others with more quality. We are not an intense team in the defensive aspect, but we have a lot of quality, a lot of experience and a lot of commitment."

Luka Modric made his 100th Champions League appearance on Tuesday, becoming only the ninth player to reach that landmark while at Madrid. Eight of those games came during his time at Tottenham.

Modric turned in a typically controlling display and completed the full 90 minutes, which was somewhat surprising given the important nature of Sunday's clash with Atletico Madrid.

There had been calls prior to the weekend win over Real Sociedad for Ancelotti to rotate his midfield more, yet Modric is heading into the derby having played 90 minutes both against La Real and Inter.

The Croatian is not concerned, however.

"I feel very good," the 36-year-old told Movistar. "I think you don't have to look at the years, you have to look at what you do on the field. The years are less and less noticeable because players' careers are prolonged.

"I feel very good, and I feel like I am younger than 30!"

Simone Inzaghi said Inter were made to regret failing to capitalise on a positive first-half display in their Champions League defeat against Real Madrid.

Inter were denied top spot in Group D after going down 2-0 to Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Though already guaranteed a place in the knockout phase, goals from Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio ensured Inter will be drawn to play a group winner in the last 16.

Inter were on top of large periods of the first half; with 13 shots, 14 open-play crosses and 54.9 per cent of the possession.

But for all their positive play, visiting Inter could only register a single shot on target and their task was made more difficult after the break following Nicolo Barella's dismissal.

Despite a 10th defeat in 12 European matches against Spanish opposition, Inzaghi insisted the experience will stand his side in good stead heading into the knockout stages.

Inter have lost each of their last four European meetings with Madrid, and have now lost each of their last seven away games against the LaLiga giants.

"Clearly, we wanted to get a different result, but it will be very useful for our future," the head coach said. 

"There are a lot of regrets with the first half because, in my opinion, we played very well and with personality. 

"Unfortunately, we created a lot of situations where the numbers were in our favour, but we went into the interval a goal down.

"It was an open match; we were close to scoring the equaliser after the break. When it became 10 against 11, it was more difficult.

"We are growing; I can say very little to my players in terms of performance. 

"We played well in both games against Real Madrid, but lost them both. Obviously, we have to do something more."

Real Madrid secured top spot in Group D of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Inter.

Toni Kroos gave the hosts a first-half lead at the Santiago Bernabeu with a wonderful effort from 25 yards.

And substitute Marco Asensio sealed the points with a beautiful strike to match 11 minutes from time.

Inter were forced to play the final 26 minutes with 10 men after Marco Barella was dismissed for violent conduct.

Needing a win to snatch top spot in Group D, the Nerazzurri made a bright start.

Marcelo Brozovic's dipping volley went just over, while Ivan Perisic saw an effort blocked in the box.

But Madrid took the lead against the run of play; Kroos receiving the ball from Rodrygo before drilling a delicious 25-yard strike past Samir Handanovic.

The hosts went close to doubling their advantage before the break. Luka Jovic chipped Dani Carvajal's precise throughball into the side-netting, while Rodrygo hit the post from 16 yards out.

Barella squandered a great opportunity to equalise three minutes after the restart; blazing over with only Thibaut Courtois to beat.

Handanovic was called into action again at the other end with smart saves to deny Jovic and Casemiro.

Inter's task became harder as they were reduced to 10 men. Following a collision with Eder Militao, Barella threw a punch at the Brazil international's calf and was subsequently dismissed for violent conduct.

And Madrid made their numerical advantage count by sealing the points; Asensio curling a lovely 20-yard effort in off the far post.

Toni Kroos scored Real Madrid's 1,000th Champions League/European Cup goal during their final Group D match against Inter.

The Germany international put the 13-time winners ahead in the 17th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Receiving the ball from Rodrygo 25 yards from goal, Kroos took a touch before drilling a beautiful left-footed strike beyond the reach of Samir Handanovic.

The wonderful effort saw Madrid become the first club to reach four figures in European Cup and Champions League matches (excluding qualifiers).

 

Milan host Liverpool knowing they need a win to keep their Champions League hopes alive in one of the headline fixtures on Tuesday.

Real Madrid and Inter meet in a battle for top spot in Group D, with both already qualified as the Italian side travel to Spain with a woeful recent record.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are already through in Group A as well, with Lionel Messi aiming to follow in the footsteps of George Weah and Neymar at home to Club Brugge.

Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data behind the next set of matches.

Milan v Liverpool: Reds eye English record

Milan are searching for their first win against an English side in Europe since February 2012, while the Rossoneri have recorded victory in just one of their past nine home games in the Champions League group stage.

In contrast, Liverpool have triumphed in all five of their opening games this season as they look to become the first English side to win all six of their group-stage matches in a single campaign.

The Reds are also aiming to record victories in six consecutive games in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their history, with Alisson on the hunt for three consecutive clean sheets in the continental competition for his first time.

Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge: Mbappe and Messi await leaky defence

Club Brugge were defeated by five goals in their last clash against RB Leipzig, the third consecutive group game in which they conceded at least four times.

No team has ever gone four straight games letting in at least four, but the Belgians will have to negotiate with Messi, who could become just the third player – after Weah in 1994 and Neymar in 2017 – to score in his first three consecutive home games for PSG in the competition.

The visitors will also have to contend with Kylian Mbappe, the France international managing five goal involvements in three matches against Brugge – his joint-most against a single opponent in the competition, along with Red Star and Istanbul Basaksehir.

RB Leipzig v Manchester City: Guardiola's men out to defend German record

City are unbeaten in their previous 14 games against German opposition, including a six-game undefeated streak on the road, in a run that stretches back to November 2014 in the Champions League.

The reigning Premier League champions have won their past nine such fixtures, scoring 28 goals and conceding just nine in return, while Leipzig are winless in their most recent three meetings with English sides.

If Leipzig fail to defeat Pep Guardiola's side, it will be the first time they have not registered a single home win during the group stages in Europe.

Real Madrid v Inter: Los Blancos looking for goalscoring milestone 

Inter have claimed just one win in their past 11 meetings with Spanish opposition in European competition and their last away win against such sides came all the way back in October 2004.

The Serie A outfit have not beaten Madrid in Europe since March 1967 as Carlo Ancelotti's side look to score their 1,000th goal in the European Cup/Champions League in just their 455th game.

Karim Benzema could be central to Madrid hitting that milestone if he is passed fit, the forward already with five group-stage goals to his name this term as he sits two behind Raul in the club charts in the competition (66).

 

Other fixtures:

Ajax v Sporting CP:

16 - Ajax have scored 16 goals in their five games in the Champions League this season, with only Bayern Munich (19) and Manchester City (17) finding the net more.

15 - The previous three meetings between Ajax and Sporting have seen a total of 15 goals scored, at an average of five goals per game. Indeed, neither side has managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their three clashes to date.

Borussia Dortmund v Besiktas:

60 - Jude Bellingham has had a direct hand in 60 per cent of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League goals this season (one scored, two assisted), with the last Englishman to enjoy more than three goal involvements during the group stages of a season before the age of 19 being Jack Wilshere in 2010-11 for Arsenal (one scored, three assisted).

5 - Besiktas remain the only Champions League side in 2021-22 to lose all five of their matches and are looking to avoid being the first team since AEK Athens in 2018-19 to lose each of their six group games.

Porto v Atletico Madrid:

5 - Porto will be aiming to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for a fifth time in their past five tournament appearances (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21). The last time they failed to do so was in 2015-16 under Julen Lopetegui.

786 - Luis Suarez's only goal in 11 appearances for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was a penalty against Milan in September, giving him a minutes-per-goal ratio of 786. At previous club Barcelona, the Uruguay striker scored 25 goals in 55 appearances, with a minutes-per-goal ratio of 192.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Sheriff: 

1 - Shakhtar Donetsk have only won one of their past 11 home games in the Champions League (D5 L5), while they have failed to score in seven of the games in this run, including both in 2021-22 (D1 L1).

25 – Sheriff's 2-0 victory over Shakhtar in this season's tournament came despite the Moldovan side having just 25 per cent possession – since 2003-04, only Atletico (23) versus Barcelona in April 2016 have won a Champions League game by multiple goals with a lower possession percentage.

Inter winger Ivan Perisic will not discuss his future for "a couple of weeks" as the Nerazzurri prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Croatia international is only under contract until the end of the season and it has been reported Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is keen for a reunion with the 32-year-old.

Perisic, who has scored three goals and provided two assists in 19 appearances this season, says he is only interested in Serie A champions Inter's quest to win more trophies for the time being.

He said in a news conference on Monday: "The last two years have been wonderful for me, but this is the past.

"I'm hungry, we want to win again this year. I don't like to talk about the future, I'm focused on this period and we have to give everything we have every day." 

The Nerazzurri are assured of a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, but Perisic is eyeing a victory at the Santiago Bernabeu to win Group D.

"I'm focused only on tomorrow, as are my team-mates. We want to play a great game and finish in first place," he added.

"We have time and in a couple of weeks we'll talk [about his future]. Let's see what can happen."

Madrid have won each of their past three games against Inter in the Champions League, while the Italians have only one victory in their previous 12 meetings with Spanish sides.

This week sees the end of the group stages for this season's Champions League with honour, ambition and, yes, prize money on the line.

Two Spanish giants are being made to sweat on matchday six as Atletico Madrid need a win and a favour to stay in the competition, while Barcelona quite probably need to beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to avoid dropping into the Europa League.

Atalanta and Villarreal will battle it out for second place in Group F, while Real Madrid and Inter face off at the Santiago Bernabeu to determine who will win Group D.

Group G will perhaps be the most dramatic, with all four participants in with a chance of finishing first or second, but what exactly does each team need from their final group game? Stats Perform has the answers for you here...

 

Group A

Manchester City have already secured top spot after beating Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on matchday five, with the French side definitely finishing second, sitting four points behind City and four points ahead of both RB Leipzig and Club Brugge.

Leipzig, who sacked coach Jesse Marsch over the weekend, host City and need to match or better Club Brugge's result to clinch third place and a Europe League spot.

The Belgians must get something from their trip to Paris and hope that they achieve a better result than Leipzig.

 

Group B

Liverpool have had first place sewn up since they beat Atletico Madrid at Anfield on matchday four and now sit 10 points ahead of second place in what had been labelled a 'group of death' when the draw took place.

It's all to play for otherwise, though, with Porto second. A win for them at home to Atletico will confirm their passage to the knockout stage. A draw will also be fine as long as Milan do not beat Liverpool at San Siro.

Milan need to win against the Reds and hope the other game is a draw, while the Spanish champions have to beat Porto and hope that the Italians fail to beat Liverpool.

 

Group C

The most straightforward group of all as every position has already been confirmed, with Ajax top, Sporting CP joining them in the knockout stage as runners-up, while Borussia Dortmund will go into the Europa League and Besiktas are out.

 

Group D

Real Madrid and Inter have both qualified, with Carlo Ancelotti's men only needing to avoid defeat to the Italians at the Santiago Bernabeu to top the group. Inter need to beat Madrid to overtake them.

Sheriff will go into the Europa League having already been confirmed in third place above Shakhtar Donetsk.

 

Group E

Bayern Munich have won the group and Dynamo Kyiv will finish bottom, but the battle for second and third is going to the wire.

Barcelona have a two-point advantage in second place, but travel to Bayern, while Benfica host Dynamo, with the Portuguese side boasting the superior head-to-head record over the Catalans.

A win in Germany sees Xavi's men safely through, but should they draw or lose, they will be reliant on Benfica failing to win as well.

 

Group F

Manchester United sealed top spot with their 2-0 win at Villarreal on matchday five.

The Yellow Submarine are a point ahead of Atalanta in second, so only need to avoid defeat in Italy, while Gian Piero Gasperini's side must win to take the other qualification place.

Young Boys can still claim a Europa League spot if they beat United at Old Trafford and Atalanta lose.

 

Group G

The tightest of groups where it all comes down to the final round.

Lille sit top on eight points, and a win at Wolfsburg will secure that spot, while a draw will still see them qualify as they have a superior head-to-head with Sevilla.

Salzburg will go through if they avoid defeat at home to Sevilla, winning the group if they win and Lille do not.

Sevilla have to win in Austria to go through. They will at least secure third and a place in the Europa League if they lose and Wolfsburg also fail to beat Lille.

Wolfsburg actually cannot finish third but can finish first or second with a win against Lille.

 

Group H

Chelsea and Juventus have both qualified from the group, and Thomas Tuchel's side will secure top spot with a win at Zenit. Juventus must better Chelsea's result when they host Malmo.

Zenit have already confirmed their place in the Europa League, while Malmo are out.

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted he does not "have to prove anything to anyone" as his side prepare to host Inter.

Madrid hold an eight-point advantage at the top of LaLiga, while they have already qualified through Group D in the Champions League.

The two top sides meet on Tuesday, with Ancelotti's team boasting a two-point lead over Inter, who have not defeated Spanish opposition in Europe since October 2004.

Madrid have also won their last three games in the Champions League against the Serie A outfit, though the pre-match focus was on the latter stages of the continental competition as the Spanish giants look for an unprecedented 14th title.

"I don't have to prove anything to anyone," Ancelotti responded to reporters at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"I have a very young coaching staff and also young footballers with a lot of enthusiasm and desire to learn. With this coaching staff, I feel very good because we can combine their enthusiasm and my experience well.

"I can't say if Madrid is the favourite or not to win the Champions League, but we can compete against any team. If you want to win this competition, you have to face the best. If you have the goal of reaching the final, you will have to beat strong teams.

"In the second year of my first stage, we were very close to success. The period between January and February did not go well, we suffered important injuries like [Luka] Modric's. But each year has its history and you cannot compare that with the current one.

"The history and tradition of this club, which is the best in the world, involves a requirement. When we won La Decima we enjoyed it and celebrated it, but we had to move on. This is what this club and this fans are asking for."

Inter head to the Spanish capital after a dominant 3-0 win over Jose Mourinho's Roma moved them within a point of leaders Milan in the league.

Simone Inzaghi's side also know a win will ensure top spot in Group D but Inter have not defeated Madrid away from home in European competition since March 1967.

Ancelotti, though, is expecting a great battle with the Nerazzurri, who have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign.

"It is a prestigious game for us," he added. "We play against a team that is doing very well, playing football well. 

"We play [for] first place and that is important. And we play in our stadium in front of our fans. It will be an interesting match."

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