Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo said he always wants "more and more" as he eyes further records after surpassing Pele.

Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick on Sunday to inspire Juve to a 3-1 win over Cagliari in Serie A and move onto 770 career goals.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner became the top goalscorer in history, eclipsing Brazil legend Pele.

"There is still much more to achieve and I believe we can do it together," Ronaldo wrote via Instagram on Monday.

"Goals are an essential part of who I am. I can't stop chasing for more, looking forward to achieving another record.

"I always want more and more and I think that's why people often say that I have so much energy and that I never stop.

"Maybe it's true, but this is essential to keep me alive."

Only once before had Ronaldo scored a quicker hat-trick from kick-off, doing so after 20 minutes against Espanyol in 2015.

Ronaldo is now four clear of Inter's Romelu Lukaku at the top of the Serie A scoring charts, with 23 goals from as many appearances. 

In total, Ronaldo has scored 87 times for club and country in March, making it his favourite month of the year in terms of goals, surpassing September (86), while he has now also netted at all 18 stadiums he has played at in Serie A.

The 36-year-old became the first Juve player to score a perfect hat-trick (right foot, left foot and header) in Serie A since David Trezeguet against Livorno in August 2007.

Zinedine Zidane is open to the idea of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Real Madrid.

Speculation has been rife following Juventus' Champions League elimination by Porto, suggesting Ronaldo wants to head back to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite reports only surfacing in the past week, Spanish publication AS claims Ronaldo and Madrid have been in talks for several months and a transfer for the end of the season is being mooted, with Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe seemingly out of reach this year.

Ronaldo left Madrid for Juve in 2018, a move seen as a major statement in the Bianconeri's bid to end their Champions League drought, which stretches back to 1995-96.

But they have not been beyond the quarter-finals since, losing to Ajax, Lyon and most recently Porto in successive years.

Ronaldo is already Madrid's record scorer with 450 goals and won Europe's elite competition four times with Los Blancos, and Zidane acknowledges another link-up is not impossible.

Asked by Sky Sport Italia if there was truth in the rumours linking Ronaldo to Madrid, Zidane said: "Maybe. We know Cristiano, the person he is and what he did here.

"But he is a Juventus player. I did what I had to do with him, now we will see what happens in the future. I was lucky enough to train him because he is really impressive."

Zidane was speaking ahead of Madrid's Champions League last-16 second leg against Atalanta, having beaten Juve's Serie A rivals 1-0 in Bergamo in their previous meeting.

Remo Freuler was sent off after just 17 minutes for the home side, with Zidane's men then finally breaking the deadlock through Ferland Mendy four minutes from time.

Madrid are in the driving seat in the tie but Zidane insists he is not relaxed heading into Tuesday's game. While he realises Atalanta have to come out and go for goals, he is also well aware that is their main strength.

"I'm not calm, in football that doesn't exist," Zidane added. "You must have a great performance to get through the round, you can't go to 95 per cent because they will come here to win.

"We will need the best Real Madrid. I don't expect anything different from Atalanta. They always play in the same way: they attack and score, a lot. It's a great team.

"It's true that everything changed early on in the first leg, but many things were said to each other and they are rightly angry about the sending off, which was harsh. But we also prefer to play against 11 men, because then our game was also different."

Karim Benzema has no issue with talk of Erling Haaland joining Real Madrid as he has become accustomed to speculation linking the club with other strikers. 

Haaland's future remains a subject of great interest in the media, with the Norway international continuing to be prolific for Borussia Dortmund. 

The 20-year-old, who already has 31 goals in all competitions this season, has been linked with a move to Madrid, along with another highly talented young forward in Kylian Mbappe. 

Ahead of the second leg of Los Blancos' last-16 Champions League tie with Atalanta on Tuesday, Benzema spoke about the possibility of Haaland heading to the Spanish capital at some stage in the future. 

"He's not at the club," the Frenchman, whose double against Elche at the weekend moved him to 20 goals for the season, told the media. 

"I've spent many years here and every month they talk about strikers and people who can get a lot of goals. 

"He's young and he does a lot for his team. He has to work more for his team and if one day he has the opportunity, and he comes here, then so be it."

Benzema was also asked in the pre-match news conference about Cristiano Ronaldo, the club's all-time leading scorer who has been linked with a sensational return. 

Ronaldo left in July 2018, moving to Juventus. "The time has come to open a new stage in my life," he said at the time of the stunning transfer. 

However, Juve's exit from the Champions League to Porto means they have failed to make it any further than the quarter-final stage during the Portugal forward's three years at the club, with reports in Spain suggesting the player is keen to head back to Madrid. 

"I did a lot with him here, a lot of goals and assists. It's already been three years [without him]," Benzema said about Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick for Juve against Cagliari on Sunday. 

"He's at another team. I'm neither the president nor the coach. I don't know if he's happy or not at Juventus. 

"I played with him in another time... we always got on well together. And we always scored goals."

As for his own future, Benzema remains relaxed about the situation but is willing to open talks about extending his stay at "the best club in the world". 

"I go day by day. I enjoy every training session, every match," he explained. "I have a contract until 2022 but my door is open if the president wants me to renew. It's the best club in the world." 

Cristiano Ronaldo's future is dominating headlines.

After Juventus crashed out of the Champions League last 16, Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Turin.

Could a return to the Spanish capital be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO ON MADRID'S RADAR

Real Madrid are interested in bringing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, according to the frontpage of Monday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo – Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer – left Los Blancos for Juventus in 2018 but his future with the Serie A champions is far from certain following their Champions League elimination.

Diario AS says Ronaldo represents an easier and quicker target than Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Marca, though, insists Ronaldo's possible return does not alter Madrid's objectives as they weigh up either Haaland – heavily linked to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juve, PSG and Liverpool – or Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- TodoFichajes reports United will turn their attention to Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres if they miss out on star Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, whose contract expires at season's end.

Chelsea and United want to sign Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga, claims Diario AS. Camavinga has been tipped to join Madrid, while PSG have also emerged as a possible destination.

Bayern Munich are in danger of losing head coach Hansi Flick, claims Bild. Flick has been named as a possible replacement for Germany boss Joachim Low. It comes as Bild says Flick's relationship with Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is worse than previously known, while RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann has reportedly been sounded out.

- Football Insider reports Barca's move for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is "95 per cent done". The Dutchman is set to become a free agent.

City are set to make an approach for Sporting CP left-back and Madrid target Nuno Mendes, says Diario AS.

- ESPN claims Barca are tracking Rapid Vienna sensation Yusuf Demir. The 17-year-old is also reportedly wanted by City, United, Dortmund and Bayern.

- Ligue 1 side Monaco are interested in a two-year loan deal for Bayern goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, according to Kicker. Monaco are led by former Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.

Stefano Pioli says it is understandable Milan are struggling to cope with a crippling injury list after losing further ground in the Serie A title race.

Milan fell to a 1-0 loss at home to Napoli on Sunday through Matteo Politano's strike early in the second half, the Inter loanee's fourth goal in his past eight league games - as many as he managed in his first 17 appearances of the campaign.

The defeat leaves Pioli's men nine points behind leaders Inter, having themselves been at the summit just a month ago.

Milan were again without striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Napoli, as well as Mario Mandzukic, while Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu have also spent time on the sidelines.

That told as the Rossoneri failed to find a way past David Ospina from their five shots on target, though Pioli pointed out fellow heavyweights Inter and Juventus would also struggle if they were without their best players.

"When you are missing that many players, it does make a difference, especially when they are players who also bring experience and leadership," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We had to play many games without a real centre-forward, so considering all of that, the team deserves praise for all they've been able to do in the circumstances.

"Try to imagine Inter without [Romelu] Lukaku, Lautaro [Martinez] or [Alexis] Sanchez; maybe Juventus without [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Alvaro] Morata or [Federico] Chiesa.

"We had more than half the season without Zlatan, while Rebic and Calhanoglu were also injured for long periods.

"We showed all week that this is not just a strong team, but a special one. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough tonight.

"We should've either been more courageous or sat back more, but tonight we tended to be somewhere in-between and were caught in no man's land."

Milan have now won just two of their past six league matches and are only six points better off than fifth-placed Napoli, who also have a game in hand to play.

And with the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Manchester United to come on Thursday, three days before a trip to Fiorentina, Pioli accepts fatigue is now playing a big part.

"It was a very tough and tiring week. I saw a performance that was sufficient, but that's not enough," he said.

"We returned from Manchester at 3am on Friday morning. It's obvious the Europa League is more stressful and damaging than the Champions League, especially when we started in September.

"Having said that, we are Milan and would never want to be without that European presence. We weren't expecting to be in second place, but now that we are here, we want to keep hold of it.

"Inter have the momentum - they really started to step on the gas after their Champions League exclusion and it allowed them a full week to prepare for every game.

"We are not looking ahead or over our shoulders; we just stay focused on our path."

Napoli, previously without an away win in four league outings, are now unbeaten in their past six league encounters with Milan at San Siro since December 2014.

The home side's misery was compounded late on when, shortly after Theo Hernandez had a strong penalty shout rejected, substitute Ante Rebic was dismissed for dissent.

Despite now being closer to fifth place than first, however, midfielder Sandro Tonali insists Milan are still looking up the table rather than down.

"I don't think there is fear, otherwise we'd lose every game," he said. "We are here and must continue to aim high and not give up now."

"This is not the game we prepared - it was not what we intended to do. Napoli closed down all the spaces and we didn't create enough scoring opportunities.

"The ones we did create with Rafa Leao were not converted and then Napoli scored their first real chance."

Cristiano Ronaldo explained his "everlasting and unconditional admiration" for Pele after the Juventus star surpassed the Brazil legend's tally to become the top goalscorer in history.

Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick on Sunday to inspire Juve to a 3-1 win over Cagliari in Serie A and move onto 770 career goals.

Pele, who spent 18 years with Santos before moving to play in the United States in 1975, scored 757 official goals in his career, helping Brazil win three World Cups.

Ronaldo hit that total in January, but there was some confusion over Pele possibly scoring another 10 goals which could be counted among official statistics – nine for Sao Paulo State and one for the Brazilian Military Team.

As such, Ronaldo insisted he waited until he surpassed 767 goals to celebrate.

"The last few weeks were filled with news and stats considering me the world’s top scorer in football history, overcoming Pele’s 757 official goals," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

"Although I'm thankful for that recognition, now it's time for me to explain why I didn't acknowledge that record until this moment.

"My everlasting and unconditional admiration for mister Edson Arantes do Nascimento, such as the respect that I have for mid-20th century football, led me to take into account his 767 scores, assuming his nine goals for Sao Paulo State Team, as well as his single goal for the Brazilian Military Team, as official goals.

"The world has changed since then and football has changed as well, but this doesn't mean that we can just erase history according to our interests

"Today, as I reach the 770 official goals in my professional career, my first words go straight to Pele. There's no player in the world who hasn't been raised listening to stories about his games, his goals and his achievements, and I'm no exception.

"For that reason, I'm filled with joy and pride as I acknowledge the goal that puts me on top of the world's goalscoring list, overcoming Pele's record, something that I could never have dreamed of while growing up as a child from Madeira.

"Thanks to all of those who took part of this amazing journey with me. To my team-mates, to my opponents, to the fans of the beautiful game all over the world and, above all, to my family and close friends: trust me when I say that I couldn't have done it without you."

Prior to Ronaldo's Instagram post, Pele had used his official Twitter account to congratulate the 36-year-old Portugal star.

"Cristiano, what a beautiful journey you are having!" Pele tweeted.

"I admire you a lot and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. I leave this photo in your honour, with great affection, as a symbol of a friendship that has existed for many years."

Cristiano Ronaldo channelled his anger at Juventus' Champions League exit in midweek into a decisive display in the Bianconeri's 3-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday, according to head coach Andrea Pirlo. 

Juve were eliminated from Europe's elite club competition by Porto at the last-16 stage on Tuesday, going out on away goals after the tie finished 4-4 on aggregate after extra time at the Allianz Stadium.

Sergio Oliveira scored the decisive goal late on from a free-kick that went straight through the Juve wall, with Ronaldo turning his back on the effort.

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

He responded in superb fashion at the Sardegna Arena, though, scoring a hat-trick inside 32 minutes. 

Only once before had Ronaldo scored a quicker hat-trick from kick-off, doing so after 20 minutes against Espanyol for Real Madrid in 2015.

The Portugal international is now four clear of Inter striker Romelu Lukaku at the top of the Serie A scoring charts, with 23 goals from as many appearances. 

In total, Ronaldo has scored 87 times for club and country in March, making it his favourite month of the year in terms of goals, surpassing September (86), while he has now also netted at all 18 stadiums he has played at in Serie A.

Pirlo was pleased with Ronaldo's display and dismissed suggestions he might have received a red card for a high challenge on Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno. 

"I think it was a classic situation during play, both of them were looking at the ball and didn't realise how close they were," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"He was angry the same way everyone was after the missed qualification, but he did his talking on the pitch with three goals and that's all that matters.

"It was the right approach, which we needed after failing to qualify the other day, and we started on the right foot.

"All we can do is focus on our own results, getting as many points as possible, winning as many games as possible and then at the end seeing where we are."

Juve's win takes them clear of fourth-placed Atalanta and to within one point of Milan, who play in Sunday's late game.

They remain 10 points behind leaders Inter, having played a game less than Antonio Conte's side, and defender Giorgio Chiellini insists the reigning champions are not thinking too much about the Serie A pacesetters. 

"It was a tough test, as Cagliari are a very good team," he said. "We've got Benevento up next and need to find that consistency we've been lacking so far this season.

"With all due respect for Inter, we have to focus only on our own results. Once we reach the end, we'll see where we are, but the only course we can take is to focus one game at a time and keep going.

"We spoke within the dressing room. This isn't the moment to be talking too much, our strength has always been giving our response on the pitch. I think if we maintain that unity, we'll do well."

Cristiano Ronaldo remains "the future of Juventus" despite rumours of a possible return to Real Madrid, according to Bianconeri director Fabio Paratici.

Rumours have been building in Spain that Madrid would be prepared to re-sign the Portugal star in the next transfer window, three years on from his €112million move to Turin.

Those reports were largely fuelled by Juve's Champions League exit to Porto in the last 16, with Ronaldo criticised for his performance in the second leg, particularly when he turned his back in the wall for Sergio Oliveira's decisive free-kick.

Head coach Andrea Pirlo defended the 36-year-old ahead of Sunday's league match at Cagliari, insisting: "He has 90 goals in a hundred games for Juventus and has always shown his worth. It can happen that he doesn't score in a certain match, as has happened with others, and this creates rumours."

Paratici, speaking to Sky Sport Italia prior to kick-off, said of the Ronaldo rumours: "It makes me smile.

"I grew up in a small village, and I heard this talk in bars about [Gianni] Rivera, [Sandro] Mazzola, [Michel] Platini and [Roberto] Baggio. I never thought I'd hear them about Ronaldo now.

"We're talking about a footballer who is today the top scorer in Serie A, has five Ballons d'Or and is a privilege for us. He surely represents the future of Juventus."

Ronaldo responded by reaching 23 goals in Serie A this season with a hat-trick in the first 32 minutes of Sunday's game, celebrating his third goal by running to a pitch-side camera and pointing to his ear.

It was the second-fastest hat-trick he has scored in his club career, behind a 20-minute treble he hit for Madrid against Espanyol in September 2015.

The former Manchester United forward has now scored 87 goals for club and country in March, making it his most profitable month.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a first-half hat-trick as Juventus took out their Champions League frustration on Serie A strugglers Cagliari in a 3-1 away win.

The subject of transfer speculation after disappointing in the Bianconeri's European exit to Porto in midweek, Ronaldo came to the fore on Sunday with the second-fastest treble of his outstanding career.

The 32-minute blitz was enough to cast aside 17th-placed Cagliari, who had conceded all of their previous six Serie A goals after the break.

Giovanni Simeone struck back to cap an improved second-half display from Cagliari, but Juve comfortably eased to a third straight league win.

Federico Chiesa had already equalled his career-best tally of assists in a single Serie A campaign, and the winger nearly had a seventh of the season when he crossed for Ronaldo, whose header was deflected wide.

Juve's opener came from the resulting corner, Ronaldo powering in Juan Cuadrado's cross.

Alvaro Morata squandered a great chance 12 minutes later but made amends with a terrific ball for Ronaldo, who drew a rash lunge from Alessio Cragno and duly thumped home the subsequent spot-kick.

Having crafted Morata's wasted opportunity, Chiesa got the assist his performance deserved in the 32nd minute, his drilled crossfield pass teeing up Ronaldo to complete a perfect hat-trick with an arrowed left-footed finish beyond Cragno.

Cagliari started the second half brightly and, after some smart stops from Wojciech Szczesny, were rewarded when Simeone slammed home from a precise Gabriele Zappa cutback.

VAR deemed Joao Pedro not to have been fouled by Adrian Rabiot inside Juve's box soon after.

Chiesa just failed to turn in Cuadrado's centre to restore a three-goal advantage, but the visitors ultimately avoided any further scares to move within 10 points of leaders Inter.

Cristiano Ronaldo was destined to be at the centre of transfer speculation after Juventus were bundled out of the Champions League, according to head coach Andrea Pirlo.

The 36-year-old forward has been linked with a return to Real Madrid at the end of the season, three years after he moved to Italy.

Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League by Porto on Tuesday, with Ronaldo facing criticism from figures including Fabio Capello after the second leg.

He notably turned his back on Sergio Oliveira's free-kick that found the back of the net in extra time, which triggered much of the negative judgement.

Ronaldo also failed to score in either game against the Portuguese giants, in a tie that Juventus lost on away goals.

"He's fine, it's normal that he's disappointed with what happened the other night," Pirlo said in a news conference on Saturday.

"It's normal there are rumours after an elimination. He is the most important football personality in the world, together with [Lionel] Messi.

"But let's remember that he has always done well for us, scoring about 90 goals in 100 games. It can happen that in one match he does not score, and with him that makes for more and more fuss."

Juventus are back in action on Sunday when they have a Serie A trip to Cagliari.

Trailing leaders Inter by 10 points heading into the weekend's fixtures, Juventus can ill afford to drop points at this stage of the season.

"I have lived through many of these situations. I have won a lot and lost a lot," Pirlo said.

"I have always tried to start up again with enthusiasm after great disappointments. We start again with the desire to show that we are Juve.

"We can take the championship to the last game. It depends on us, on the goals we have all set ourselves.

"From moments of great sadness we have to bring out our best and I am convinced that we will do it tomorrow.

"It will be an important match after the elimination. It will take team spirit to play a great game."

A second coming for Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish capital?

After a trophy-laden spell with Real Madrid, Ronaldo made the switch to Juventus.

But Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer is reportedly keen on a second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO EYEING MADRID REUNION

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to return to Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Saturday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo's future with Juventus has been placed in doubt following the club's Champions League last-16 exit.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who left Madrid for Juve in 2018, has reportedly been in contact with Los Blancos for months.

 

ROUND-UP

- New Barcelona president Joan Laporta will offer superstar captain Lionel Messi a fresh contract in the coming weeks, reports Mundo Deportivo. The deal would include Messi – heavily tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City as a free agent at the end of the season – becoming a club ambassador after retirement. Laporta is also set to push ahead with moves for Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City forward Sergio Aguero.

City lead the race to sign Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Manchester United, Chelsea, LiverpoolJuve, PSG, Barca and Madrid.

Joao Felix is also an option at the Etihad Stadium. Cuatro claims the Atletico Madrid star is a target if Aguero leaves City.

- Le10Sport claims PSG remain in talks with Neymar over a four-year contract extension. A deal is believed to be some way off.

Harry Maguire wants United to sign an English-speaking defender, reports The Transfer Window Podcast. The Red Devils have been linked with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. But Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White has emerged as a target.

- TMW Radio says Atletico could be set to make a move for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz. The Spain international has been previously linked with Barca and Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a sensational return to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane faced questions over the Juventus star's future on Friday.

It was reported this week that Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, had contacted Madrid over a potential switch back to the LaLiga champions.

Portugal captain Ronaldo is Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer after finding the back of the net a staggering 451 times in 438 matches before joining Juve on a four-year deal in July 2018.

Madrid boss Zidane could not escape the speculation at his latest media conference as talk over the possibility of the 36-year-old rejoining Los Blancos continues to rumble on.

"We all know what he means for the club, what he did for the club," he said.

"I coached Ronaldo, he's part of the club's history, his contribution was magnificent but right now he's a Juventus footballer and he's doing very well for the club and there's not much more I can add to all the things that have been said.

"He's a Juve footballer and I have to respect the club and the player."

Madrid host struggling Elche on Saturday knowing they have no margin for error in the title race, as they trail Atletico Madrid by eight points.

Zidane says relegation-threatened Elche must not be taken lightly.

"We know in the Spanish league there are no easy games really," said the former France playmaker. "You look at the league table and it doesn't tell the whole story.

"It's a club that are down near the bottom, but they are a very good side and have put in some very good performances this season in the league.

"Now with the new manager [Fran Escriba] things have changed. We expect a tough game and we know we've got to put in a great performance if we want to take all three points and that's our aim."

Ronald Koeman only took charge of Barcelona at the start of the season, but his tenure could be brief.

With Joan Laporta back at Camp Nou as president, he is determined to make his mark.

And highly rated RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann is reportedly fancied in Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – LAPORTA FANCIES NAGELSMANN

New Barcelona president Joan Laporta is eyeing RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann as the club's next head coach, according to El Larguero.

Laporta was elected Barca president on Sunday and attention has immediately turned to the dugout at Camp Nou.

Ronald Koeman is currently at the helm but while Laporta respects the Dutchman, he prefers Nagelsmann.

 

ROUND-UP

Paris Saint-Germain could make a move for Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo if Kylian Mbappe leaves, claims Le Parisien. Reports in Italy and Spain say Juve will sell Ronaldo at the end of the season following their Champions League last-16 exit. With Mbappe's future unclear in Paris amid links to Real Madrid, PSG are eyeing a possible deal for Ronaldo. Barca's Lionel Messi has also been heavily linked.

- The Daily Mail reports Chelsea are keen on Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman if Christian Pulisic leaves Stamford Bridge. Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern have emerged as possible suitors for Pulisic, who is out of favour under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. Coman was linked with United during the previous transfer window.

Barca are dreaming of signing Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, claims Mundo Deportivo. Madrid, PSG, United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester City are all reportedly keen on Haaland. City forward Sergio Aguero, Lyon captain Memphis Depay, Bayern star David Alaba and City defender Eric Garcia are also among Barca's list of targets.

- Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is a target for Inter, according to Calciomercato. The Netherlands international has been linked with Barca previously.

- Ajax's Brian Brobbey will join Leipzig on a free transfer at the end of the season, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Juventus defender Merih Demiral has been ruled out for around three weeks with a thigh injury.

The Turkey international sustained the damage late on in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Porto, which saw Juve exit the Champions League on away goals at the last-16 stage.

Juve confirmed on Thursday that Demiral, who has been plagued by a number of injury setbacks over the past year, suffered low-grade tissue damage.

He is expected to miss 20 days, potentially ruling the 23-year-old out of Juventus' Serie A games with Cagliari, Napoli and Benevento.

Demiral is subsequently a major doubt for Turkey's World Cup qualifying triple-header against the Netherlands, Norway and Latvia later this month. 

Juve have an identical win rate with and without Demiral in Serie A this season, winning 60 per cent of their 10 games with the centre-back in their starting lineup and the same amount in the 15 games without.

He leads the way in terms of blocks per 90 minutes among Juve defenders in Serie A this term with 0.88, while only Giorgio Chiellini (3.72) has managed more clearances and headed clearances (2.29) than Demiral's 3.63 and 2.16 respectively.

However, the former Sassuolo man lacks in other areas, his 60.26 attempted passes per game some putting him some way behind Matthijs de Ligt's 76.26. 

In fact, only Gianluca Frabotta (51.16) attempts fewer passes on average than Demiral among Juve defenders to have featured more than once in the league in 2020-21.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of football's all-time greats and cannot be blamed for Juventus' early Champions League exit, according to international team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

Juve were eliminated from Europe's elite club competition by Porto at the last-16 stage on Tuesday, crashing out 4-4 on away goals after extra time at the Allianz Stadium.

Sergio Oliveira scored the decisive goal late on from a free-kick that went straight through the Juve wall, with Ronaldo sheepishly turning his back on the effort.

Former Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello singled out Ronaldo on the back of the two-legged defeat, in which the five-time Ballon d'Or winner failed to find the back of the net.

Ex-president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli went as far to suggest Juve should never have spent €100million to sign the forward in 2018, meanwhile, but Fernandes has defended his compatriot.

"Cristiano is one of the greats in football history. His mentality inspires those who practice this sport," Fernandes told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He has won a lot, but no one can win alone. 

"I understand that his presence at Juve had created enormous expectations for the Champions League, but when a team lose, the whole squad lose, not one single player.

"I'm not surprised [by the result]. Porto have a winning mentality. They play aggressive football and I expected them to create problems for Juventus."

While Ronaldo and Juve are enduring a difficult campaign, Fernandes is going from strength to strength at Manchester United.

The former Sporting CP star has scored 16 goals and assisted 10 more in the Premier League this campaign, which is the highest direct goal involvement of any midfielder in Europe's top five leagues.

Fernandes spent five years in Italian football with Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria, though it was not until joining Sporting in 2017 that his career truly took off.

"I had to complete my physical growth," Fernandes said of his time in Italy. "I was moving from one country to another.

"I didn't fully establish myself because the role of the attacking midfielder isn't easy in [Italian] football."

Fernandes cited the example of Juve attacker Paulo Dybala, who has often struggled for consistency, before explaining the differences between Italian and English football.

"The story of Dybala seems enlightening to me," he said. "Everyone expects something special from him, but we are always strict towards him.

"Udinese was, also for the years spent with the Friuli, the most important stage, but the change of coach didn't help me.

"It was too bad, because I had found a real teacher in Francesco Guidolin. If I had spent more time with him, it might have been different.

"Anyway, I can only thank Italy for what it has given me. I was happy, I lived an experience of growth, I measured myself with a country where the football is of the highest level."

He added: "There's a lot of intensity in the Premier League. The pace is high.

"The smaller sides have quality and they make you suffer. In Italy, the tactics are like a university of sport."

Fernandes is expected to start United's Europa League last-16 first leg with Milan at Old Trafford on Thursday in a battle between two historically successful European heavyweights.

Milan have not competed in the Champions League since 2013-14, while United have only made it to the quarter-finals of the competition once since the same season.

However, both teams are second in their domestic leagues and are among the favourites to go all the way in the Europa League.

"In some respects, [United] and Milan are the same," he said. "Two clubs with a prestigious past, with 10 Champions League trophies in the cabinet, both have gone through a phase of transition, but are returning to the top.

"At the beginning of the season, no one thought that Milan could fight for the Scudetto. We are in March and they are second. 

"They play well, have interesting young players and the added value of [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic's strength."

Thursday's game will mark the 11th time Milan and United have met in European competition, with all 10 previous encounters coming in the European Cup or Champions League.

United have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with Milan, with no side knocking out the Red Devils more often in European competition – Real Madrid having also managed it four times. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.