Another day, another Erling Haaland rumour.

Haaland's future is dominating headlines amid widespread interest in Europe.

Barcelona are reportedly interested in the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI OUT, HAALAND IN?

Barcelona have identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a top transfer priority if Lionel Messi leaves at the end of the season, according to Diario AS.

Messi is out of contract at season's end and the superstar Barca captain has been tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

Should Messi depart, Haaland is wanted by Barca and head coach Ronald Koeman, though all eyes will be on Lyon forward Memphis Depay if the former remains at Camp Nou.

Haaland has also been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, PSG, Liverpool and City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims City are convinced Kevin De Bruyne will sign a new contract with the club. Raheem Sterling's contract is also on the agenda, while soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero will decide his future in the coming weeks. Aguero has been linked with Inter, Barca and Chelsea.

United are set to challenge Madrid in the chase to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres, reports The Mirror. United are keen to bolster their defence amid links with Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate.

- Calciomercato says Inter will reject any offers for star Romelu Lukaku. It comes as Chelsea and Barca reportedly eye the in-form Belgian.

Barca are monitoring the future of Valencia star Jose Luis Gaya, according to Diario AS. The captain is negotiating a new contract with Valencia.

- Napoli and Spain midfielder Fabian Ruiz is wanted by LaLiga trip Barca, Madrid and Atletico Madrid, claims Diario Sport.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal are considering a move for Real Betis star Nabil Fekir amid doubts over loanees Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos.

Romelu Lukaku is Chelsea's back-up plan if they cannot land Erling Haaland.

Haaland is being circled by several top clubs including Chelsea, along with Manchester City and Real Madrid.

The Borussia Dortmund talent will demand a significant transfer fee which the Blues may be able to afford.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU FIRMS AS CHELSEA'S PLAN B

Chelsea have turned their attention to their former striker Romelu Lukaku as they look to bolster their forward options.

The Telegraph reports that Haaland still remains top priority but Inter forward Lukaku is being heavily considered.

The Manchester Evening News are also reporting City are interested in Lukaku as both clubs prepare to miss out on Haaland.

Inter have indicated that Lukaku, who was at Chelsea from 2011 to 2014 but spent spells on loan at West Brom and Everton, is not for sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca's front page discusses Real Madrid setting Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe as their transfer priorities amid a major reconstruction whilst reinforcing a Cristiano Ronaldo return is not part of their plans.

- ESPN claim Borussia Dortmund have set a €180m valuation on Haaland, as numerous clubs circle for the Norwegian forward's services.

- Manchester United are considering offering Jesse Lingard a new deal following his exceptional form on loan at West Ham United, according to The Sun.

- AS is reporting that Manchester United have also made an approach to sign Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente for £68.5m.

- Turkish outlet Ajansspor reports that Fenerbahce have contacted ex-Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri about potentially taking up their head coach role.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores free-kicks all the time in training, making his poor dead-ball returns for Juventus a mystery.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has embellished his phenomenal career record with 95 goals in 123 appearances for Juve across all competitions.

However, his attempts when faced with a defensive wall leave plenty to be desired and have become a subject of mild derision.

According to Opta, Ronaldo has had 72 shots from free-kicks in Juve colours, scoring once.

His only successful free-kick came during last July's derby against Torino – his 43rd attempt.

"In training, they all go in," Juve's third-choice goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio told Tuttosport.

"Why doesn't he score them in a match? I don't know, obviously in a match it's different than in training, but I don't know. Bad luck maybe."

The unheralded Pinsoglio came through the youth ranks at Juventus but is now 31, having made the vast bulk of his career appearances across loan spells at five different club and a brief permanent switch to Vicenza.

Nevertheless, he has forged an unlikely friendship with one of the greatest footballers of all time, to the extent his close relationship with Ronaldo is mocked by team-mates.

"I have a beautiful friendship with him, my team-mates make fun of me saying that I'll go to the Euros with the Portugal staff and Cristiano," he added.

"Ronaldo is a simple guy, not a star, he's quiet, he likes to laugh and joke."

Barcelona have reportedly joined the queue chasing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Dortmund.

The Norway international could be among a number of new recruits at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND WANTED AT CAMP NOU

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is leading the club's recruitment this off-season and has identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a key target, according to Diario AS.

Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Liverpool.

Koeman is also reportedly eyeing City defender Eric Garcia, Lyon captain Memphis Depay and soon-to-be Liverpool free agent Georginio Wijnaldum.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh from netting a hat-trick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League, Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic has been linked with a move to London rivals Arsenal by The Sun, which claims the Gunners are looking at the Croatian attacker as an off-season signing.

- Marca claims Arsenal will not be able to sign on-loan Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal as parent club Real Madrid see him as part of their long-term future plans.

Roma want either Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri to be their next coach to replace Paulo Fonseca, according to Messaggero.

- Calciomercato says rumoured Premier League target Franck Kessie has rejected Milan's latest contract extension offer.

- Schalke's California-born 20-year-old Matthew Hoppe is hot property and Valencia are the latest club to join the chase, alongside TottenhamBarcelona, Ajax and PSV, according to AS.

- The Sun reports in-form Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho will sign a new deal with the club.

Could Luis Suarez return to Liverpool, where he spent three and half seasons from 2011 to 2014?

The Uruguayan forward has been a key part of Atletico Madrid's LaLiga title push this term, with 19 league goals.

The Reds are reportedly keen to bolster their forward options, with Suarez on their list.

 

TOP STORY – REDS PREPARING SUAREZ OFFER

Liverpool are interesting in the return of Suarez this off-season and are preparing an offer for the Atletico Madrid forward, according to Fichajes.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp reportedly wants to add experience to his front line and 34-year-old Suarez fits the bill.

Suarez scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for the Reds in his previous stint before joining Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Spanish outlet Cope claims that Real Madrid are not contemplating a move for Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo despite widespread speculation of a return. The report says Madrid are focused on the future rather than a veteran player whose career is winding down.

- Barcelona are planning to release Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho this off-season due to their financial issues, allowing them to retain young talent Pedri, Ilaix Moriba and Ansu Fati, according to El Confidencial.

- On the topic of Barcelona, Sport is claiming the Catalans have approved the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool and Memphis Depay from Lyon and are awaiting validation from their new board.

- Diego Costa has reached an agreement to join Benfica as a free agent, according to Mundo Deportivo. Costa left Atletico Madrid in December and returned to his native Brazil.

- Manchester United are considering a move to sign 24-year-old Villarreal defender Pau Torres in the off-season, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- Galatasaray, Flamengo or Marseille are the primary options to be Arturo Vidal's next home as he is set to leave Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Alvaro Morata believes Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Juventus but says the superstar forward will certainly have been affected by the criticism directed his way.

Ronaldo joined Juve in 2018, signing a four-year deal in Turin.

He has gone on to help the Bianconeri to successive Serie A titles – their eighth and ninth in a row – yet has not been able to propel the team to Champions League glory.

It is a failure that cost both Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri their jobs, while latest incumbent Andrea Pirlo will also be unable to count European success among any accolades this season, with Juve falling to Porto in the last 16 earlier this month.

Juve's chances of a 10th consecutive Serie A title also look slim, with a shock defeat to Benevento last time out leaving Pirlo's side 10 points adrift of leaders Inter.

With just over a year remaining on his contract, speculation around Ronaldo's future is rife.

And although Morata hopes his team-mate stays put, he understands why the 36-year-old – who was heavily criticised following Juve's Champions League exit – may be disappointed with what the Bianconeri have achieved in recent seasons.

"We have all been criticised but no one in the team has won as many trophies as he has," Morata, who is on international duty with Spain, told Cadena SER's El Larguero programme.

"It has affected all of us and whoever says it hasn't is lying. I am the first to know when I receive criticism. I'm sure he will know when he is criticised too. I don't have to explain who Cristiano is because we all know.

"Small details were what decided the Porto game. We are all to blame. If I had scored that header in the first half we would be in the quarter-finals.

"But you have to look on the positive side. We won the [Supercoppa Italiana], we have another cup final against Atalanta. We have to look at this season as one of change. Some things can be improved and that is all there is to it."

Asked about his relationship with Ronaldo, Morata replied: "We talk about everything apart from football. We spend a lot of time together and, when we aren't playing, we talk about all kinds of subjects, life, the world we live in.

"We talk about the pandemic situation in Spain, in Portugal.

"He gives that sensation because he is so used to being at the top. It's nothing to do with Juve because he would be the same at any other club.

"He seems happy to me but, the thing is, he is so used to winning that it's understandable he feels disappointed – as we all do. But he's happy at Juve."

Morata came through the ranks at Madrid while Ronaldo – who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Juve this term – was in the middle of his Los Blancos career.

"I've never thought about that," Morata said when asked if Ronaldo could move back to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"A few years ago a friend asked me the same question but you know I am not going to answer. I want Cristiano to stay at Juve because I want Juve to have the best players.

"I hope to have him near but I'll be pleased with whatever he decides to do that makes him happy."

Could Harry Kane end up at Real Madrid?

Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is one of Europe's most sought-after and expensive players, while Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe also commands a hefty fee.

With that in mind, Tottenham's Kane has reportedly emerged as a transfer target in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID ADD KANE TO LIST

Real Madrid are interested in signing Tottenham star Harry Kane, according to SER Deportivo.

Madrid have been heavily linked with in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.

But Madrid's hierarchy reportedly feel a deal to prise Kane from Tottenham may be easier.

 

ROUND-UP

- Wednesday's Marca and Diario AS newspapers are dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo. Marca claims Ronaldo would exit Juventus to return to Madrid, who he left in 2018. Diario AS says Juve are ready to listen to offers for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. Ronaldo has also been linked with former club Manchester United.

- Sport reports Manchester City defender Eric Garcia will join Barcelona on a five-year deal. It will be the first major signing under new president Joan Laporta as the LaLiga giants also eye Haaland and look to re-sign superstar captain Lionel Messi, who has been tipped to join either PSG or City on a free transfer at season's end.

- TV3 claims Ronald Koeman will continue as Barca head coach in 2021-22 following talks with Laporta. RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann and club great Xavi had been linked.

Inter are ready to reignite their interest in Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, claims Calciomercato. The Serie A leaders have previously been linked with the Argentina midfielder. Antonio Conte's Inter are also tracking Madrid outcast Isco, according to Sport.

- L'Equipe claims United are considering a move for Tottenham captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris amid doubts over David de Gea. Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma has also emerged as a possible target.

Bayern Munich are in talks to sign Madrid attacker Lucas Vazquez on a free transfer, according to AS.

Liverpool, Juventus and Roma are among clubs interested in Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez, says AS. The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of 2021-22.

Juventus forward Alvaro Morata does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave the struggling Serie A champions.

Ronaldo has been linked with returns to former clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United following Juve's Champions League last-16 exit.

Juve – third and 10 points off the pace in Serie A this season – have not progressed beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League since Ronaldo's blockbuster arrival in 2018.

Morata was asked about Juve team-mate Ronaldo and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's future in Turin.

"I don't think that's the case," Morata told El Larguero while on international duty with Spain.

"It would have been the same had he joined another club.

"He's used to winning Champions League finals. It's not a Juventus thing. He's happy in the team.

"Will he return to Real Madrid? We talk about everything except football, really."

Ronaldo surpassed Pele's record after scoring 770 career goals courtesy of his hat-trick against Cagliari on March 14.

The 36-year-old tops the Serie A's goalscoring charts with 23, ahead of Inter star Romelu Lukaku (19).

Cristiano Ronaldo has not been affected by Juventus' recent struggles, insists Portugal head coach Fernando Santos. 

The Bianconeri were eliminated from the Champions League in the last-16 stage by Porto a fortnight ago, going out on away goals after the tie finished 4-4 on aggregate after extra time at the Allianz Stadium.

Former Juve boss Fabio Capello singled out Ronaldo for criticism, while ex-president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli suggested the club should never have spent €100million to sign the forward in 2018.

Andrea Pirlo's side bounced back from that defeat with a 3-1 win over Cagliari in Serie A, but their hopes of securing a 10th consecutive Scudetto were left in tatters at the weekend following a shock 1-0 home loss to Benevento. 

Ronaldo, who has been linked with moves to former clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United, has since joined up with the Portugal squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan, Serbia and Luxembourg.

And Santos says has no concerns over the 36-year-old's morale. 

"We've always been close to each other, very good friends, we don't really have a coach-player relationship," Santos told a media conference.

"Ronaldo certainly represents great quality; he always shows great happiness and joy when he's with the team.

"He's an important player, probably the best in the world. I don't think he has any problem in terms of mentality at the moment."

Portugal are red-hot favourites to progress from Group A, which also contains the Republic of Ireland, but Santos insists they will not be complacent as they bid to book their place in Qatar in search of a first-ever World Cup triumph. 

“We mustn't underestimate anyone," he added. “We know Azerbaijan can be quite dangerous on the counter-attack.

"We know Ronaldo always wants to conquer new trophies, but all the players want to win the World Cup. We can fight to become world champions."

Manchester City have been linked with Erling Haaland.

As Sergio Aguero appears headed for an exit, Pep Guardiola wants to bolster his attack.

But Danny Ings has reportedly emerged as an alternative to the expensive and in-demand Haaland.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGET INGS

Manchester City are considering a move for Southampton star Danny Ings, according to Sky Sports.

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and no closer to extending his deal in Manchester.

Pep Guardiola's City are reportedly among the admirers of Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

With Haaland set to command a huge fee, City are eyeing former Liverpool forward Ings as a cheaper alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport report Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo is on the brink of being sacked. Juve are out of the Champions League and 10 points off the pace following their shock loss to Benevento. Former boss Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a return, while La Repubblica claims Atalanta's Gian Piero Gasperini, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi and Luciano Spalletti are on a three-man shortlist.

- Former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri is Roma's number one option should they sack head coach Paulo Fonseca, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Fonseca – under pressure in the Italian capital – has also been linked with Napoli, alongside Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric. Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has been linked with Fiorentina, Torino and Bologna.

Neymar re-signing with Ligue 1 holders PSG is "just a matter of time", according to Fabrizio Romano.

Aaron Ramsey is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Calciomercato. The Juventus midfielder, who left Arsenal for Turin in 2019, is seen as a possible replacement for rumoured Barca target Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield.

- The Daily Express reports Arsenal are eyeing Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho. However, a move will depend on whether Arsenal sign loanee Martin Odegaard permanently from Madrid.

Xabi Alonso is set to become the new head coach of Borussia Monchengladbach next season, replacing Dortmund-bound Marco Rose. Romano, however, insists no contract has been signed as the former Bayern Munich star remains in charge of Real Sociedad's B team.

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham believes signing stars such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar is far from a pipe dream for the MLS club.

The franchise has been linked with offers for Barcelona captain Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo as they approach the final years of their storied careers, while Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar stated last year he had given Beckham his word he would sign for him in the future.

Former Manchester United midfielder and England captain Beckham remains confident he can attract players of such calibre to Florida.

"When we announced Miami, there was always going to be talk about what players we were going to bring in, whether it was Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar," Beckham told ESPN.

"There was always going to be those discussions. I actually don't think it's a tough one for players to decide, to be honest, because it's a great place.

"Obviously, it's a great city, I feel like we've got a great fan base, but I also understand there's great talent in Miami and South Florida, and I think we have a real opportunity. Miami is a city that has that pull on players who have been playing in Europe that are big stars."

After signing notable names such as Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami endured a tough time in 2020, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference before losing in the play-in round of the playoffs.

Inter Miami also suffered three defeats in three games in Group A of the MLS Is Back tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Co-owner Beckham is now hoping for a brighter second season in MLS under former team-mate Phil Neville, who took over from Diego Alonso as head coach.

"[Neville] is the kind of coach that will get the best out of the players," said Beckham. "He won't just work with the [Designated Players], he works with the young kids that have come through the academies.

"His experience being a part of one of the best academies in the game at Manchester United when we were growing up, working with different coaches.

"He was David Moyes' assistant at Manchester United, he was an assistant coach at Valencia, and then obviously he went on to be the coach of the England women's national team, which was a great experience, but also challenging at times."

Andrea Pirlo must not let the disappointment of Juventus' shock defeat to Benevento linger for too long, Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has warned. 

The rookie Juve boss saw his team waste a chance to reduce Inter's advantage over them at the Serie A summit to seven points, with Adolfo Gaich sealing a 1-0 triumph for Filippo Inzaghi's side. 

Questions over Pirlo's leadership have already been asked and will persist, as the prospect of a 10th successive Scudetto disappears almost over the horizon.

It would take an Inter implosion and for Juventus to suddenly become infallible for the Bianconeri to catch the Nerazzurri. Neither prospect looks likely.

Mancini understands the pressure Pirlo is under and advised him to adopt a positive mindset to overcome his difficulties. 

"It is a delicate moment for him, but it is the life of all the coaches," he told a media conference. 

"The frustration must last as little as possible, then you have to think positively knowing that this happens in football. 

"He is young and he has started [his managerial career] in a big club. He has a bit of difficulty but he has begun a path."

Mancini was speaking ahead of Italy's World Cup qualifying campaign, which kicks off at home to Northern Ireland on Thursday before visits to Bulgaria and Lithuania in Group C. 

Federico Chiesa is expected to play an important role for the Azzurri after his impressive season for Juventus. 

The 23-year-old has scored six league goals for the club since arriving on loan from Fiorentina in October, while only Alvaro Morata has made more assists (eight) than his six. 

He has also created three more chances (38) for his team-mates than any other Juve player in the top-flight this season. 

"I am happy because in the last two months he has improved a lot, but he can still improve more," Mancini said. 

"He still has room to improve and become a player capable of scoring plenty of goals and providing plenty of assists."

Mancini will be joined in the dugout by Daniele De Rossi, who recently joined Italy as a technical coach. 

De Rossi, who earned 117 caps for the Azzurri and won the 2006 World Cup, retired from playing in January last year after a brief stint with Boca Juniors in Argentina.

The 37-year-old made 616 appearances in a distinguished career with Roma and Mancini expects his experience to be invaluable.

"We talked about it some time ago, when he stopped and then decided to go to Boca," Mancini said. 

"We needed a person who could help us on the pitch, given the many commitments, and we made this decision. 

"He was an important player for the national team, a world champion. He needs to gain experience because he wants to be a coach. I think it was the right choice."

Massimiliano Allegri did not rule out a Juventus return as the Italian head coach revealed his interest in working in the Premier League and LaLiga.

Doubts have emerged regarding rookie head coach Andrea Pirlo following Juve's shock 1-0 loss at home to Benevento in Serie A on Sunday.

Having already crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16, Juve's season hit a new low after they were upstaged by the lowly visitors.

The latest defeat left nine-time reigning Serie A champions Juve fourth in the standings and 10 points adrift of leaders Inter.

Allegri departed Juve at the end of the triumphant 2018-19 season, which saw him secure a fifth successive Scudetto in Turin.

Asked if he could potentially return to Juve in the future, Allegri – who has been linked with Premier League side Leeds United – told Sky Sport Italia: "It's impossible to tell, besides, Andrea Pirlo is there now and in my view he's doing well.

"I don't know what Juve are missing. They are in the Coppa Italia Final, won the Supercoppa, are fighting for the top four. The Champions League is a bit of a lottery, it can turn on a sixpence."

Allegri, who revealed he turned down LaLiga giants Real Madrid three years ago, added: "Right now I don't really know anything. 

"The charm of England and Spain are there, but I would also be happy to stay in Italy."

Roma and Napoli have also emerged as possible destinations for Allegri amid pressure on Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso.

"Naples or Rome? I don't know anything yet," the 53-year-old said. "I haven't talked in a while, when I'm not coaching I don't watch many games because I'm bored."

Allegri coached Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at Juventus and he was asked about the five-time Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo – linked with former clubs Madrid and Manchester United – surpassed Pele's record after scoring 770 career goals courtesy of his hat-trick against Cagliari on March 14.

The 36-year-old tops the Serie A's goalscoring charts with 23, ahead of Inter star Romelu Lukaku (19).

"Ronaldo too is human and can make mistakes, but there are few who can shake off a defender and run at the goal like him," Allegri added.

"Cristiano's strength is that he has this mind that is programmed to win. He won five Ballon d'Or trophies, the Champions League, so many titles, yet he is there giving himself new motivation every single day.

"It's also natural that those who play alongside him must understand the space that he leaves has to be filled by the other guy.

"Poor Mario Mandzukic, playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, he ran more in that year than his entire career… I love Mandzukic, he's a fantastic player."

Asked to compare Ronaldo and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Allegri said: "They are two very different players. I'd say one is greater, the other is better."

Andrea Pirlo said Juventus had the wrong attitude and must show more respect to the shirt after a 1-0 home defeat to Benevento left their Serie A title hopes on the rocks.

The rookie head coach saw his team waste a chance to reduce Inter's advantage over them to seven points, with Adolfo Gaich preying on a calamitous pass from midfielder Arthur in the 69th minute.

Questions over Pirlo's leadership have already been asked and will persist, as the prospect of a 10th successive Scudetto disappears almost over the horizon.

It would take an Inter implosion and for Juventus to suddenly become infallible for Juventus to catch the Nerazzurri. Neither prospect looks likely.

"We needed to turn in a better display but we performed poorly, in every aspect of our game," Pirlo said. "Everything was off today, in our attitude and in technical situations.

"We knew this would be tough, because Benevento are an organised team, who defend effectively with two compact lines. What we needed was to stay calm and make better use of the flanks, but we made a lot of mistakes.

"When the result is hanging in the balance, panic can start to set in and that wasn't the attitude required. We also needed a little extra desire to get the result, because there was a real opportunity for us to close to gap in the league.

"We must continue to believe in the Scudetto, to follow our path and our work and always be there."

Juventus had 73.4 per cent of possession and led the shot count 21-7, with Cristiano Ronaldo having nine attempts as well as a goal disallowed for offside, while a penalty decision was also overturned in the first half.

Benevento's Alessandro Tuia made a game-high 10 clearances as the visitors scrambled to stay level initially and then hold on to their lead.

The fact Benevento, coached by former Juventus striker Filippo Inzaghi, were able to get ahead and stay ahead rankled with Pirlo, with last season's Serie B champions scoring from their one shot on target in the game.

"We have to change our mindset: we wear a jersey of huge importance, which must always be honoured," Pirlo added, quoted on the Juventus website. "Our attitude has to be different in games like this."

After the international break, Juventus will return to Serie A action with a derby against Torino, which should focus minds.

Assessing Arthur's blunder, Pirlo said: "He made a mistake that was not like him. In my opinion, he didn't see the opponent in that area of the field.

"It was a soft mistake, like many others we made. It means that we weren't concentrated and that we didn't give everything to achieve victory."

Andrea Pirlo and Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Juventus despite hopes of a 10th successive Scudetto lying in tatters, according to club director Fabio Paratici.

A shock 1-0 home defeat to lowly Benevento on Sunday was a result to leave even the most optimistic Juventus supporter fearing the long reign as league champions is coming to an end.

Trailing Inter by 10 points, the Benevento game was a chance to chip away at that lead, but Arthur's dire pass across the Juventus penalty area midway through the second half was seized upon by Adolfo Gaich for the game's only goal.

Ronaldo had nine attempts at goal, hitting the target four times, but Juventus could not find a way past goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo.

Pirlo, appointed to coach Juventus this season in his first senior post, has seen his side knocked out of the Champions League by Porto and almost certainly hustled out of the Serie A title race inside the past fortnight.

But Paratici, managing director of the club's football department, insists Pirlo remains the man Juventus want as their leader.

He told Sky Sport Italia: "This is not a game that changes our ideas, let's go our own way. This route continues. We are very convinced of what we are doing, let's stay on this path.

"We weren't dissatisfied with the previous coaches. There were different reasons why we changed, that's it. It is not a win or a loss that determines a club's course.

"When you have a clear idea of ​​where you want to go, you have to follow the route. We will see at the end if it is correct."

Asked about Ronaldo, who has been linked with his former clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United, Paratici said: "We have Ronaldo, he is the best in the world and we are holding on to him."

Ronaldo was presented with a shirt marked 'G.O.A.T. 770' by chairman Andrea Agnelli before the game, denoting Juventus' belief they have the 'greatest of all time' at the club, and reflecting his achievement in reaching 770 career goals with his hat-trick against Cagliari last Sunday.

Ronaldo said Pele acknowledged that took him past the Brazil great's career haul in competitive matches for a new world record.

Paratici dismissed talk of this being a season of 'transition', saying: "For Juventus this word does not exist."

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