Manchester City's dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid this season is apparently cause for another raid on the transfer market.

After already wrapping up Erling Haaland's transfer from Borussia Dortmund, the midfield is the next area of business.

With veterans in the midfield likely on their way out at the Etihad Stadium at this end of this season, replacements could soon be on the way.

TOP STORY – CITY EYE PHILLIPS AS FERNANDINHO REPLACEMENT 

Manchester City have emerged as contenders for the signature of Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to the Mirror.

While Manchester United have also identified Phillips as a potential addition for their midfield, the 26-year-old has reportedly made it clear to his inner circle that he will not join Leeds' fierce rivals.

However, Phillips would appear likely to leave Leeds if they are relegated, with West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle United all also linked.

Fernandinho will depart City at the end of the season, while Ilkay Gundogan could follow, and the £50million-rated Phillips is a more attainable target than £100m international team-mate Declan Rice.

ROUND-UP

– According to Bild, Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to move on a deal for Liverpool's Sadio Mane amid reports he is stalling on a renewal of his contract, which expires in 2023.

– Incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has added Ajax's Lisandro Martinez to the list of players he wants to bring to Old Trafford, the Telegraph is reporting.

United have also shown renewed interest in Lazio and Serbia midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, per Calciomercato.

– Chelsea want to sign Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this season, Mundo Deportivo reports.

Giorgio Chiellini asserted it was the right time to end his Juventus career after making his final home appearance for the club, revealing Italy's failure to reach the Qatar World Cup influenced his decision.

Chiellini played the first 17 minutes of a Serie A clash with Lazio on Monday, in which Juve threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

First-half goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata looked set to ensure the Bianconeri marked the Allianz Stadium swansong of Chiellini – and Paulo Dybala – with a win, only for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to equalise with the final kick of the game after Alex Sandro put through his own net.

The 37-year-old defender, who has won 20 trophies during his incredible career with the Turin giants, has made 392 top-flight appearances for the club, a tally bettered only by Gianluigi Buffon (489) and Alessandro Del Piero (467).

With Juventus guaranteed to finish fourth in Serie A after enduring a frustrating season, which also saw them lose the Coppa Italia final to Inter, Chiellini said the time had come for the Bianconeri's young players to take centre stage.

"The decision came in months, weeks, not days," he told Sky Sports Italia. "I have always said that I would like to leave at a high level, and I succeeded. 

"It was a difficult year, for Juventus and for me, but in the matches I managed, I played at my level. 

"All this led me to leave now, to leave room for young people. Juve need to restart, and young people have to take responsibility and mature. I helped to clip some people's wings, now it's right for them to fly alone. 

"I will cheer for them from near or far, and I made this decision with joy and serenity."

The legendary Chiellini has made 25 appearances for Juventus in all competitions this season, 17 of them starts.

Chiellini will end his Italy career after facing Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1, having won 116 caps to date during a glittering career with the Azzurri.

Having helped Italy to Euro 2020 glory last year, he revealed March's shock World Cup qualification play-off defeat to North Macedonia had influenced his desire to step away from both Serie A and international football.

"Of course, I wanted to get to the World Cup. It was the obsession I had after the European Championship," he added. "It is inevitable that I cannot play every match, but I wanted to be part of the national group. 

"It didn't go the way we wanted, which accelerated my choice. [But] I leave a national team and a Juve in good hands."

Chiellini is not planning on retiring, however, and has been linked with a potential move to Major League Soccer.

Although he said he had not yet made a final decision regarding his future, Chiellini hinted that a move abroad would interest him. 

"I don't know. It has attracted me, but for 10 years, I have to decide at home," he added. 

"An experience abroad enriches you, I think I need to see a little outside my life and Juve. I have to understand together with the family, I have to take a look outside, also for my future."

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored a dramatic 96th-minute equaliser as Lazio came from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with Juventus in Turin.

In a match where Juventus paid tribute to departing stars Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala, first-half goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata seemed to have put the Bianconeri in control.

But after Alex Sandro's own goal halved the arrears, Maurizio Sarri's return to the Allianz Stadium ended in chaotic fashion when Milinkovic-Savic fired into the roof of the net with the last kick of the game.

As well as spoiling the farewell home appearances of Chiellini and Dybala, the result boosted Lazio's hopes of beating local rivals Roma to a fifth-place finish in Serie A.

Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cited Manchester United's Paul Pogba as an inspiration as speculation grows over a transfer to Old Trafford.

Milinkovic-Savic has played an integral role at Lazio since joining from Genk in July 2015, appearing over 200 times in Serie A.

The Serbia international has again delivered for Maurizio Sarri's side this season, providing 10 goals and 11 assists in the league, while no Serie A midfielder can match his 21 goal contributions.

Meanwhile, no Lazio player has started more Serie A games than the 27-year-old this term, while he also ranks top for tackles (67) and duels won (247).

A creative presence as well as a dominant midfielder, only Luis Alberto (64) has created more chances than Milinkovic-Savic (47), but reports in Italy suggest Lazio are ready to sell their star midfielder.

Paris Saint-Germain and United are among the favourites to sign him, with Lazio's preference not to sell to fellow domestic side Juventus, and Milinkovic-Savic has referenced two Premier League players as his idols.

Pogba, who appears set to depart United at the end of the season, came under special praise from Milinkovic-Savic, while Thiago Alcantara's creativity for Liverpool was also cited.

"Comparisons between me and Pogba? I learned a lot from him at the beginning when I arrived in Italy and he was at Juventus," he told DAZN.

"He is tall like me, has the technique and always makes a difference."

On Thiago, he added: "Against shorter players, I struggle more because I have to lower myself too. Who do I get my cue from? I always look at Thiago from Liverpool.

"I developed some body movements thanks to Futsal, a sport I practised as a child."

Milinkovic-Savic acknowledged he was pleased to continue developing after producing arguably his best season and spoke long term about harbouring Ballon d'Or ambitions.

"My best year? For a few years, the statistics say, I play a little better," he added. "If I feel undervalued? I don't think about this, when I finish the game if I have time I see it again and then I decide if I did well or not, I'm honest with myself.

"In the movements without the ball I have grown a lot over the years. Little by little I have worked and this year you can see the results.

"Five years from now? I don't think so much about the future, I look day by day and I don't think too much about things. Ballon d'Or? Of course, I'd like to win it!"

Leonardo Bonucci will be the new captain of Juventus following the announced departure of Giorgio Chiellini, Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The Bianconeri head coach was speaking ahead of Juve's final home game of the season against Lazio and said he wants to "combine all three things", referring to playing well while saying goodbye to outgoing duo Chiellini and Paulo Dybala.

Chiellini confirmed he will leave Juventus at the end of the season following their 4-2 defeat to Inter in the Coppa Italia final.

The veteran centre-back has spent 17 years with the Bianconeri, winning 20 trophies during his time in Turin.

Dybala is also exiting the Allianz Stadium at the end of the campaign and has been linked with the likes of Inter, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Manchester United.

"It's the last home game, you have to honour it to the fullest. And then it's Giorgio Chiellini's party and Paulo Dybala's last [game], we have to combine all three things," Allegri told reporters at a media conference on Sunday.

"They are two different things. Giorgio stops or has an experience in America, I don't know. Paulo changes team. Both will have the tribute of the fans, as I believe will [Lazio boss, Maurizio] Sarri, who returns and was the last [head coach] to win the Scudetto with Juve."

As for Juve's next skipper, Allegri added: "The new Juventus captain will be Bonucci."

The former Milan boss was also asked about Paul Pogba, who has been linked with a return to Juve once his contract at Manchester United expires next month.

"Pogba is a United player. Before talking about the transfer market, let's finish the season and then we'll take stock with the club," he said. "We don't have to evaluate not only the market but also what happened during the season at 360 degrees.

"[Do I] remember Paul? I have already forgotten, several years have already passed. I have a full memory card."

Allegri was asked to summarise the season, with Juve qualifying for the Champions League but never really challenging in the Serie A title race.

"I'm satisfied with the path and the goal, but not satisfied to have not won a trophy," he said.

"The team has done its best. Even if I always say, 'let's play with those who are here', in the long run we have paid for traumatic injuries: [Federico] Chiesa, [Weston] McKennie, Danilo, Bonucci… We have players who will certainly grow, then with the club we will improve the shortcomings of this team."

Three matchdays remain in Serie A, and yet there is plenty still to be decided at both ends of the table – not least which side will be crowned champions.

Milan occupy top spot in their quest for a first Scudetto since 2011, but fierce rivals Inter are just two points behind and arguably have an easier set of fixtures to conclude the campaign.

Napoli and Juventus are not officially out of the title race just yet, though they are seven and eight points off first place respectively, therefore requiring a remarkable set of results.

Both Napoli and Juventus are already assured of a top-four finish, but there are several other teams still battling it out for the three remaining European spots.

Venezia appear doomed at the opposite end of the table after losing to fellow strugglers Salernitana on Thursday, with the latter's victory lifting them out of the bottom three – in all, six teams remain in trouble.

But just how will the remaining two and a half weeks of the season unfold? Using the Stats Perform League Prediction Model, we can try to forecast the final standings.

Created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, the model has analysed the division to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results.

Weighting is based on recency and the quality of opposition, with the rest of the matches then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

Let's take a look...

 

MILAN TO SEE THE JOB THROUGH

Milan still have Hellas Verona (ninth), Atalanta (eighth) and Sassuolo (11th) to face, whereas Inter's final fixtures are against Empoli (14th), Cagliari (18th) and Sampdoria (15th).

However, it is worth noting that if they finish level on points, Milan would be crowned champions by virtue of a superior head-to-read record against their rivals this term.

With that in mind, while Inter are only two points behind, they essentially need to take three more points than Milan over the final three matchdays.

And our model suggests the Rossoneri have a 62 per cent chance of retaining top spot, compared to a 37.7 per cent chance of defending champions Inter overtaking them.

Just to highlight how unlikely it is either Napoli or Juventus will pip the current top two to the summit, they have a 0.2 and 0.1 per cent chance of winning the title respectively.

A ROME ONE-TWO FOR EUROPA LEAGUE?

The Champions League places may now officially be wrapped up, but five teams are still battling it out for the three remaining European berths.

The sides that finish in fifth and sixth, currently occupied by Roma and Lazio, will qualify for the Europa League group stage.

Roma, according to the model, have a 59.1 per cent chance of nailing down fifth place – though if they were to drop to seventh, the Europa Conference League finalists could get into the Europa League by winning UEFA's third-tier competition.

Lazio would take great enjoyment from finishing above their neighbours and have a 36.9 per cent chance of doing so.

The first priority for Maurizio Sarri will be locking down sixth, though, and there is a 46.7 per cent likelihood of achieving that with Fiorentina three points further back.

ATALANTA TO PIP FIORENTINA

While the top six are forecast to remain where they are, our model predicts seventh-placed Fiorentina will miss out to Atalanta in the Europa Conference League play-off position.

After losing three games in a row, La Viola now have a 31.2 per cent chance of staying seventh, compared to 47.6 for Atalanta, whom they are currently level with on 56 points.

Verona are four points further back and that appears to be too big a gap to bridge, with the Gialloblu seemingly certain to remain in eighth.

Indeed, the 80.8 per cent likelihood of Verona finishing in that position is bettered only by the chances of Empoli staying 14th (90.2 per cent) and Venezia remaining bottom (87.4 per cent) given the points margin either side.

VENEZIA AND TWO OTHERS TO DESCEND

Thursday's 2-1 defeat away to Salernitana looks to have spelled the end for Venezia's brief stint back in the top flight as it leaves them seven points from safety. Their chances of escaping the drop sit at 0.1 per cent.

Salernitana still have a 36.2 per cent chance of dropping into the bottom three, but given they face the team directly below them – Cagliari – and Empoli in their next two games, they will surely like those odds.

Another win for Salernitana on Sunday would be massive at the bottom, as such a result will relegate Venezia and potentially Genoa, whom the model gives only a 1.2 per cent likelihood of climbing up to 17th.

Spezia and Sampdoria aren't quite out of the woods yet, but their five-point cushions should be enough to keep them in Serie A. Everything points to Sunday's contest being almost a straight relegation play-off between Salernitana and Cagliari.

The model suggests with a 63.3 per cent probability that Cagliari will go down, but their fate is in their own hands.

Barcelona's financial volatility has necessitated a cut of overall wage spend, and Philippe Coutinho has long been viewed as dispensable.

Since his big-money signing from Liverpool, the incompatibility the Brazil international has represented has only been reinforced with loan spells at Bayern Munich and Aston Villa.

However, in need of funds, the Blaugrana have reportedly set the Birmingham club a timeframe for confirming his permanent signing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE ASTON VILLA COUTINHO ULTIMATUM

Barcelona have given Aston Villa until the end of the month to confirm whether they will sign Coutinho on a permanent deal, Sport is reporting.

The cash-strapped Catalan giants loaned Coutinho to Villa in January with a €40million (£33.7m) purchase option, but Villa have now been given until the end of May to finalise the deal.

Barcelona have reportedly insisted that the finances be resolved by the end of June, as it would help balance their accounts for the season. 

The 29-year-old has played erratically despite four goals and three assists in 14 appearances, not directly contributing to a league goal since early March against Leeds.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku has no intention of joining Milan or Newcastle United despite frustration over a lack of opportunities, according to the Evening Standard.

- Chelsea want to sign 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Goal reports.

- Football Insider reports Inter Milan are looking to sell Stefan de Vrij, with Tottenham and Aston Villa among the clubs interested.

- Lazio are willing to lower their asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to around €80million, per Calciomercato.

Manchester United reportedly have a clear runway to sign West Ham midfielder and England international Declan Rice in the upcoming transfer window.

Rice, 23, has emerged as one of England's brightest young talents after being released from Chelsea's youth setup back in 2014.

He is expected to command a transfer fee in excess of the £100million Jack Grealish was signed for by Manchester City in a British record – but United may not be engaged in a bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOM AS RICE'S SOLE ENGLISH SUITOR

ESPN are reporting that United will not be facing competition from fellow Premier League clubs in the pursuit of Rice.

Sources have allegedly claimed the goal is to make Rice into a "modern day version of [Paul] Ince", who helped ignite the rise of legendary boss Alex Ferguson with his arrival from West Ham in 1989.

City are said to be using their resources on Erling Haaland; Chelsea are hampered by their ownership situation and the need to replace Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku; and Liverpool would prefer to wait for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham at a cheaper price.

Despite a lack of bidders to drive up Rice's price, West Ham are reportedly firm on their £100m-plus valuation.

 

ROUND-UP

– Everton would accept a £50m fee for Brazilian striker Richarlison, and are confident of getting such an offer, according to Football Insider.

– According to ESPN, Milan and Juventus are the leaders in the race to sign United's Jesse Lingard.

– Sport are reporting Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has chosen Barcelona over Premier League clubs United and Arsenal.

– Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is said to be for sale for a €80m price-tag, with Sky Sport claiming United and Paris Saint-Germain are the leading suitors.

Arsenal have renewed their interest in Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, per The Times. 

Jose Mourinho has been accused of lacking respect by Roma's rivals Lazio after he claimed their winning goal against Spezia should not have stood.

Roma and Lazio are locked in a battle to secure a top-six finish in Serie A, and Maurizio Sarri's team sit level on points with the Giallorossi after earning a last-gasp 4-3 win over Spezia on Saturday, while Mourinho's men dropped points in a goalless draw with Bologna a day later.

Having spent much of their match trailing, Lazio snatched a thrilling win when Francesco Acerbi flicked home in the final minute.

After Ciro Immobile became just the 10th player to reach 150 Serie A goals for one club earlier in the match, Acerbi's winner was controversial as it appeared he turned home from an offside position, leading Mourinho to take aim at the decision to let the goal stand.

Subsequently, Lazio have hit back.

"The fact that in 2022 a coach of another team repeatedly refers to presumed referee favours to competing teams demonstrates some things," the statement began.

"That Lazio is obsessively in their thoughts more than other coveted professional goals; that, as often happens, one looks into other people's homes to divert attention from missed results and sensational episodes that have occurred in one's own home, in one's favour, under the eyes of all.

"Despite the need to evolve the image of football in Italy, some players are stuck with the constant repetition of accusations against the referees and the VAR, [and] these offensive attitudes towards referees are too often overlooked.

"The Lazio Sports Society rejects the criticisms and insinuations. It continues to believe that values are demonstrated on the pitch and not in the television salons. Lazio will never lend itself to being anyone's alibi or scapegoat and will assert its reasons in the appropriate forums." 

In accusing Mourinho of lacking respect for referees and other clubs, Lazio also claimed not to have commented on several refereeing decisions which they perceived to have gone against them in recent weeks.

These incidents included a potential foul on Acerbi in the build-up to Sandro Tonali's late winner for Milan at the Stadio Olimpico, and an alleged elbow by Roger Ibanez when Lazio met Roma in March.

"The company's line continues to be that of not discussing the decisions taken on the pitch, even when it comes to obvious episodes that occurred to the detriment of the Biancoceleste team, such as [Sandro] Tonali's foul on Acerbi in Lazio-Milan on the occasion of the goal, or the elbow from [Roger] Ibanez on [Sergej] Milinkovic-Savic in the [Rome] derby," the statement continued.

"[These are] decisive episodes on which we have chosen silence, out of respect for the referees on the field and the VAR, respect that others have not shown and continue not to demonstrate."

The capital clubs are separated by virtue of their head-to-head record with three games left, with Roma boasting the advantage after winning 3-0 in March.

Stefano Pioli believes his Milan players do not get the credit they deserve after Sandro Tonali's stoppage-time goal sealed a vital 2-1 win over Lazio on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud had cancelled out Ciro Immobile's early opener at the Stadio Olimpico, but it looked like the Rossoneri would hand the title initiative to Inter after a series of wasted chances.

Tonali had other ideas, though, the midfielder popping up in the second minute of added time to secure a win that lifted Milan two points clear of Inter at the top of the table, although they have played a game more.

The result meant they have won three games against Maurizio Sarri's men in a single season (two in Serie A, one in the Coppa Italia) for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

Speaking to DAZN immediately after the game, Pioli spoke of his pride at his players' efforts and insists they do not receive the plaudits they should.

"I am so proud of my players and if I was in their shoes, I'd be angry," he said. "People don't give them enough credit. For years, they have been proving themselves at the highest level.

"We will try to win all the remaining games. We might not achieve that, but we will give it our best.

"We know it's a tricky fixture list. All we can do is take it one game at a time and try to do the best we possibly can."

The result confirmed Milan's qualification for next season's Champions League – an achievement Pioli says demonstrates the strides his side have made.

"The important thing is we are in the Champions League," he added. "This time last season, we weren't sure if we would be in the top four, so this shows further progress.

"There are still some steps to climb, but those are the ones that will give us the greatest satisfaction."

Tonali echoed Pioli's sentiments, saying that no one is talking about Milan being genuine title challengers despite their position in the table.

"We have to take it one game at a time," he explained. "We came here and nobody other than us and our fans believed in us.

"We are in front without hearing anyone say Milan are the leaders or that Milan are a strong side. We're used to it now."

Milan return to action next Sunday when Fiorentina visit San Siro.

Milan moved back to the top of Serie A as Sandro Tonali's stoppage-time goal sealed a deserved 2-1 victory over Lazio on Sunday.

Stefano Pioli's side had been usurped at the summit by local rivals Inter after their 3-1 win over Roma on Saturday, but victory at the Stadio Olimpico means the Rossoneri regained their two-point lead at the top.

Ciro Immobile had given Lazio an early lead with his 25th league goal of the season, but Olivier Giroud pulled the visitors level shortly after the interval.

Tonali then poked home two minutes into stoppage time to seal a dramatic three points and spark jubilant scenes among the travelling supporters. 

After excelling in the Champions League for Benfica, Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez has attracted interest from Newcastle United.

Darwin, who turns 23 in June, has scored 24 goals in 24 Primeira Liga games, as well as six goals in 10 Champions League appearances. No Benfica player has ever scored more goals in a single Champions League campaign.

While some of the world's biggest clubs – including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United – are hoping to sign the breakout star, they will have to contend with an aggressive offer to bring him to St James' Park.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE MAKE £50M BID FOR DARWIN

Newcastle have been linked with all kinds of big-name signings for the upcoming transfer window, but Footmercato is reporting that they have made a £50million bid for Darwin in an effort to fend off the challenge of rival clubs.

At such a young age, he could be the kind of marquee signing the new Newcastle board can build their future side around as they also chase more experienced players, such as Christian Eriksen from Brentford on a free transfer.

The Footmercato report also mentions that if Darwin is to leave, Benfica plan to replace him with Petar Musa, who is on loan at Boavista from Slavia Prague.

 

ROUND-UP

– 90min is reporting Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri is very interested in reuniting with Jorginho, as he is unlikely to be offered a new contract at Chelsea beyond 2023.

– Erik ten Hag would like to bring Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni to Manchester United when he takes over as manager, according to ESPN.

Arsenal, Leeds United and Newcastle are set to compete for the signature of Hoffenheim's Florian Grillitsch when his contract expires after this season, per the Daily Mail.

– The Sun is reporting Kalvin Phillips will reject Manchester United's advances and sign a new deal with Leeds.

Burnley are targeting Sam Allardyce to take over as manager after the sacking of Sean Dyche, per The Sun.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for Italian authorities to honour the legacy of Paolo Rossi by naming the Stadio Olimpico after the former forward.

Rossi scored six goals to claim the Golden Boot and Golden Ball as Italy lifted the 1982 World Cup, while he was awarded the Ballon d'Or in the same year – the only player to win all four trophies in the same year.

During that competition, Rossi guided his side into the knockout stages as his hat-trick propelled Italy to a 3-2 group-stage victory over a formidable Brazil team, which included legends Socrates and Zico.

Rossi still remains Italy's joint-top scorer at World Cups, with his nine goals only matched by fellow attackers Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri.

The former Vicenza and Juventus striker died aged 64 in 2020, and Infantino implored the Italian Football Federation (IFF) to mark Rossi's legacy by naming Lazio and Roma's Olimpico stadium after him.

"What are we waiting for to name the Olimpico after Paolo Rossi? There isn't another Italian who has given more to this sport," he said on Monday at an event to remember former IFF president Artemio Franchi.

"So, please I'm saying this to all the directors here. Please, help us, I think Paolo deserves it."

Infantino also recalled a meeting with former referee Abraham Klein, who officiated the meeting between Italy and Brazil in 1982 and ruled out what would have been Italy's fourth goal through Giancarlo Antognoni.

"Among other things, he admitted that Antognoni's goal [that was disallowed for offside] was valid, so let's rectify the result, it ended 4-2," he added on Klein before discussing the legacy of Franchi.

"I am president of FIFA, who for the first time in its history has appointed a woman general secretary. These are the values ​​that football gives and that we managers must protect, as did Artemio Franchi.

"It means listening, but also making decisions and acting: without this, Italy probably would not have won the European Championships and would not have qualified for the World Cup, UEFA would not have taken the steps it took at a time when Europe was uniform.

"As leaders, we must always seek, with diplomacy and emotion to bring the sport back to play this very important role of giving emotions to people."

Marco Verratti and Jorginho were among a group of six players to leave the Italy camp after their failure to qualify for the World Cup. 

Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Berardi and Gianluca Mancini also returned to their clubs ahead of schedule, with the latter two having sustained knocks. 

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is expected to ring the changes in a friendly against Turkey on Tuesday following the Azzurri's shock defeat to North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on Thursday. 

The Euro 2020 champions' first ever home loss in World Cup qualifying meant they failed to reach successive finals for the first time in their history. 

Instead of taking on Portugal in the play-off final, Italy will depart for Konya on Monday. 

Sinisa Mihajlovic is facing a new leukaemia battle after the Bologna head coach revealed he is heading back to hospital for treatment.

The Serie A stalwart, who played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter, was first diagnosed with the disease ahead of the 2019-20 season and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2019. He was back in the dugout six weeks later.

He has remained boss of Bologna since then but will step away from his responsibilities for an indeterminate period after revealing he has encountered a setback.

Mihajlovic announced the news on Saturday, telling reporters in a news conference that a routine test had given cause for concern.

"In recent years the recovery was excellent, but unfortunately, from the latest analysis some alarm bells have emerged and there is a risk of a reappearance of the disease," Mihajlovic said.

"This disease is very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me."

Former Yugoslavia hard man Mihajlovic, who has coached teams including Sampdoria, Milan and Fiorentina, spoke of the challenges of always knowing there might be a bump in the road after his initial recovery.

"You can fall, and you have to find the strength to get up," he said. "At the beginning of next week I will have to be absent, and I will be hospitalised again at Sant'Orsola. I know I am in excellent hands. Unlike two and a half years ago, when I was in tears, this time you see me calmer.

"I know what I have to do, and my situation is very different than it was then."

Mihajlovic is hoping for a swift return to his Bologna duties, but it will not be immediate. "I will certainly have to skip some matches," he said.

Bologna sit 12th in Serie A and have won just one of 10 league games since the turn of the year, losing six times. Mihajlovic is convinced his players can thrive without him and rise to his encouragement which will come from afar.

Their next match is an April 4 clash with leaders Milan.

"I know they will fight for me. They are all good guys and good players," said 53-year-old Mihajlovic. "I ask the wonderful Bologna fans to support and help them, I am sure it will happen both in training and in matches. 

"None of us will give an inch, we'll move up in the table, and I'll be back with the team soon."

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