Is the Gianluigi Donnarumma-Milan relationship coming to an end?

Donnarumma made his debut as a 16-year-old for Milan in 2015, however, the Italy international is reportedly close to making the move to Serie A rivals Juventus.

Step forward Mike Maignan…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA OUT, MAIGNAN IN?

Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan is poised to undergo a medical with Milan as Gianluigi Donnarumma edges closer to a blockbuster Juventus switch, according to widespread reports.

Donnarumma is set to become a free agent and the Milan star is yet to re-sign with the Rossoneri, who qualified for the Champions League.

Gianluca Di Marzio reports Milan are no longer waiting on Donnarumma as they step up their pursuit of Maignan, who will arrive in Italy on Tuesday after helping Lille to Ligue 1 glory.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano says Massimiliano Allegri's priority is to take charge of Real Madrid, despite interest from former club Juve and Napoli in Serie A. Allegri is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane should he leave the Spanish capital. Despite securing a top-four finish, Andrea Pirlo is being tipped to leave Juve.

- There is set to be a coaching merry-go-round in Serie A this off-season. The front page of Tuesday's Corriere dello Sport says Porto boss Sergio Conceicao is favourite to succeed Gennaro Gattuso at Napoli, with the latter tipped to replace Simone Inzaghi at Lazio. Ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is the new first choice to join Fiorentina.

Inter must sell one star – Lautaro Martinez or Alessandro Bastoni – due to their financial situation, according to Corriere dello Sport. Martinez has been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Bastoni has attracted interest from Liverpool and Manchester City. There is also speculation regarding the future of coach Antonio Conte and star Romelu Lukaku, who is reportedly wanted by Chelsea, Barca and Madrid.

- The Telegraph claims Manchester United are prioritising the signing of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, who has long been tipped to join the Red Devils. Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland is also wanted at Old Trafford, while Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a sensational return.

Tottenham are interested in re-hiring Mauricio Pochettino, reports the Independent. Pochettino is in charge of Paris Saint-Germain after replacing Thomas Tuchel in January but he was unable to oversee a successful title defence this season.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona are targeting Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum on a free transfer, says Sky Sports.

Cristiano Ronaldo said he reached his goals with Serie A powerhouse Juventus amid growing doubts over his future.

Ronaldo has been linked with former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid, as well as Paris Saint-Germain, after Juventus narrowly finished in Serie A's top four to secure Champions League qualification.

The 36-year-old – contracted to the Bianconeri until 2022 – made history after finishing the season as the league's top goalscorer (29), five goals ahead of Inter forward Romelu Lukaku.

Ronaldo, who has won two Scudetti, two Supercoppa Italiana titles and a Coppa Italia trophy since moving to Turin in 2018 but missed out on Champions League silverware, became the first player to finish as the top scorer for a season in Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League.

The Portugal captain and five-time Ballon d'Or winner heightened speculation over his future in a social media post on Monday.

"The life and career of any top player are made of ups and downs," Cristiano wrote on Instagram. "Year after year, we face fantastic teams, with extraordinary players and ambitious goals, so we always have to give our best to keep ourselves at excellence levels.

"This year we couldn't win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well deserved title. However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms. The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.

"With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and Top Scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.

"I've already said that I don't chase records, records chase me. For those who don't understand what I mean by this, it's very simple: football is a collective game, but it is through individual overcoming that we help our teams achieve their goals. It is always looking for more and more on the field, working more and more off the field, that records eventually emerge and collective titles become inevitable, some being the natural consequence of the other.

"So, I'm very proud with this fact that has been widely replicated in recent days: Champion in England, Spain and Italy; Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; Super Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; Best Player in England, Spain and Italy; Best Scorer in England, Spain and Italy; Over 100 goals for a club in England, Spain and Italy. Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that I've left my mark in the countries where I've played, and that I gave joy to the fans of the clubs I represented. This is what I work for, this is what moves me and this is what I'll always keep chasing for until the last day.

"Thanks to everyone who took part in this journey! We stand together!"

The domestic football season concluded at the weekend in typically dramatic fashion.

The title went down to the wire in France and Spain, while Champions League qualification was up for grabs for some big names in England and Italy.

Much of the focus during the closing rounds in Germany was on Robert Lewandowski's record bid, but there was no shortage of intrigue whichever way you looked.

It was in keeping with the rest of an unpredictable campaign, one that Stats Perform breaks down with the use of Opta data.
 

LILLE, LALIGA AND LUKAKU SHAKE THINGS UP

Lille, Atletico Madrid and Inter all have relatively recent history of league glory, but a pre-season wager would have fetched long odds.

In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain had won seven of the previous eight titles and would have expected to do so again, having claimed a domestic treble and reached the Champions League final in 2020.

As it was, under new coach Mauricio Pochettino, they had to settle for pushing Lille all the way.

Les Dogues claimed the title but had already set a club points record when they reached 79 with two games to spare. PSG finished on 82, though, meaning Lille desperately needed the final two results to boost their tally.

Despite the presence of Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga, Atletico's triumph was perhaps more likely, even if the impressive nature of it may have come as a surprise.

Although they stuttered on the home stretch and had to come from behind on the last day to edge out Madrid, Atleti spent 30 matchdays at the top of the table – a mark only bettered once in their 10 other title-winning campaigns (36 matchdays in 1995-96).

Indeed, Atleti are used to having to wait to celebrate, with 10 of their 11 championships seeing the destination of the trophy decided on the final day (all except 1976-77).

Inter are another big name but had been waiting even longer than Lille for their most recent title, with one Milan victory and then nine in a row for Juventus since the 2009-10 Nerazzurri treble.

Antonio Conte's men completed the job in style, though, confirmed as champions with four games to play before finishing with 91 points (behind only their 2006-07 haul of 97) and 89 goals (third-most behind the classes of 1949-50 and 1950-51 – 99 and 107 respectively).

Talisman Romelu Lukaku was involved in 35 of them, becoming the first Serie A player to have at least 20 goals and 10 assists in the same season since at least 2004-05.


BAYERN BACK ON TOP, CITY SCALING NEW HEIGHTS

In Germany, the title race was a little less exciting. Winners of everything in 2020, Bayern Munich took home the Bundesliga crown for a ninth successive season.

Prior to this run, no team had won more than three on the bounce, yet there appears no end to Bayern's dominance in sight. They have now won 52 per cent of the championships since the formation of the competition in 1963.

Julian Nagelsmann, arriving from RB Leipzig, will be the coach tasked with achieving 10 in a row and Hansi Flick has set the bar high. His 86 games brought seven trophies.

Manchester City could soon be reflecting on a similarly dominant dynasty having now claimed three titles in four seasons.

Pep Guardiola played a big part in Bayern's run and now has nine league wins in 12 top-flight seasons as a coach, although this was an unprecedented achievement, with City eighth on Christmas Day – the lowest position at that stage for an eventual Premier League champion.

A record English league run of 12 away victories played a pivotal role in City's season, while defending champions Liverpool saw a club-record 68-game unbeaten home run in the Premier League ended as they subsequently lost six consecutive league matches at Anfield for the first time in their history.

City could yet win the Champions League too, where Sergio Aguero is in line for his final appearance before his contract expires. He will hope it is as successful as his last league outing, during which he scored twice against Everton on Sunday to set a new record for the most Premier League goals by a player for one club (184).
 

RECORD-BREAKING LEWY DELAYS NEXT GENERATION

Aguero might have had his say on the final day, once the title was secure, but he largely took a backseat – unlike Lewandowski at Bayern.

His 41 Bundesliga goals broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 in a single season. The next-best tally in Europe's top five leagues in 2020-21 saw Lionel Messi trailing well behind on 30.

Lewandowski unsurprisingly also led Europe in expected goals, with his chances worth 32.2 xG, and expected goals on target, producing shots with a value of 35.8 xGOT.

As Lewandowski took the Kicker-Torjagerkanone and Messi went away with the Pichichi, Cristiano Ronaldo (29 goals) won the Capocannoniere, having also previously topped the charts in England and Spain.

Kylian Mbappe (27) was the leading marksman in France, while Harry Kane (23) earned the Premier League Golden Boot for a third time.

Kane is set to be the subject of intense transfer speculation throughout the close-season – replacing Aguero at City might be one option if he gets his wish to leave Spurs – and he will join Mbappe and Erling Haaland in that regard.

Haaland also scored 27 league goals and only just trailed Mbappe's seven assists with his six.

The expectation is both players will establish themselves as the world's best in the coming seasons, but it is now Lewandowski, rather than Messi and Ronaldo, they must surpass.

Ronald Koeman's first season in charge at Barcelona was less than convincing, creating doubts about his future.

Koeman guided Barcelona to third place in La Liga in 2020-21, as well as lifting the Copa del Rey, but they bowed out of the Champions League in the last 16.

It was a season of change at Barcelona, with Joan Laporta taking over as president in March and recently stating they will undergo an off-season "renovation" and that their "cycle has ended".

 

TOP STORY - KOEMAN SET FOR BARCA SHOWDOWN TALKS

Ronald Koeman will sit down with Barcelona president Joan Laporta this week for showdown talks about his future, claims Diario Sport.

Koeman was appointed by previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu on a two-year deal in August last year.

Laporta will also likely inform the Dutchman to sell up to 10 players to fund their off-season transfer plans.

Barcelona have been linked with a host of players including Sergio Aguero, Erling Haaland and Georginio Wijnaldum this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims that David Alaba will join Real Madrid irrespective of Zinedine Zidane's future. Alaba has completed and agreed to a pre-contract.

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain are shaping as the favourites to sign Liverpool's off-contract midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum rather than Barcelona who are yet to make an offer for the Dutchman.

- Barcelona are weighing up an off-season move for Atalanta's German versatile full-back Robin Gosens, claims Diario Sport.

Milan will look to secure Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea on a permanent deal, with a €28million option to buy him, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal have opted out of the race for Brighton's Yves Bissouma, boosting Liverpool's hopes of signing him reports The Mail.

- Leicester City are in the hunt for Sassuolo midfielder Jeremie Boga, joining the race along with Atalanta and Napoli, according to Calciomercato.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said his side deserved to finish second in Serie A after securing their long-awaited Champions League return with a 2-0 win at Atalanta on Sunday.

Pioli's Milan led Serie A in the first half of the 2020-21 season but faded, before restoring second spot, only to draw 0-0 at home with Cagliari in the penultimate round to leave their top-four hopes up in the air in a three-way fight with rivals Juventus and Napoli.

Franck Kessie scored a double from the spot as Milan got the decisive win to leapfrog Atalanta as Serie A runners-up and secure their first Champions League berth since 2013-14.

Kessie became the first player to score 10-plus penalties for Milan in a Serie A season since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2011-12.

"We achieved it because we deserved it and we deserved second place in the standings," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"It was right, unfortunately we had thrown away last Sunday's match point. I am really excited and happy."

Milan's runner-up placing was their best since finishing the 2012-13 Serie A season in third.

Pioli also hailed the Rossoneri for their collective effort to overcome the loss of veteran top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic to injuries for large periods of the second half of the campaign.

"It is all we have done together, the strength not to break down in difficulties," Pioli said. "I am very proud of the mental growth of the group.

"We played with Zlatan only 19 out of 38 games, taking away the champion from the other teams for half the season I would like to see what they would do.

"I also thought that if we were fifth it would be a difficult summer. Now we enjoy it and then we will leave again."

Milan also finished the 2020-21 league season with double the number of wins on the road compared to at home.

They set a new all-time record for away wins in a Serie A season: 16 – no side have ever done better in the top-five European leagues in a single campaign (16 also for Real Madrid in 2011-12 and Manchester City in 2017-18).

"We asked ourselves, we tried to evaluate this situation well," he said. "We weren't a team that made a lot of one-on-ones in the last quarter of the pitch.

"We miss the individual play when the teams close, in this data we are below average. We lacked some individual play. On the road, perhaps we found some more space, this is a situation that we will have to evaluate.

"I heard that this team took advantage of the absence of fans in the stadiums at least initially to find serenity, but I'm sure this team here with the enthusiasm of our fans at San Siro would have grown a lot."

Andrea Pirlo expects to stay on as Juventus coach next season after guiding them to a top-four finish.

Juve beat Bologna 4-1 on Sunday, a victory that confirmed they will finish fourth in Serie A, a point ahead of Napoli after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Hellas Verona.

A win for Napoli would have left Juve out of the top four regardless of the Bianconeri's result, though Gennaro Gattuso's men were only ahead for a short while.

It was plain sailing throughout for Juve at Bologna, with Federico Chiesa opening the scoring early on to ensure he finished the season as the second youngest player after Marcus Rashford to record at least nine goals and assists across the top five European leagues this term.

Adrien Rabiot and Alvaro Morata, who got a brace, did the rest of the damage, with the Spaniard reaching the 20-goals mark across all competitions for the first time since 2016-17 as he deputised effectively for Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was Juve's 342nd and final game as reigning Serie A champions, a record, and although Pirlo was unable to continue their domination of Italy's top flight, he expects to be in charge again next term.

"I've always put in the maximum commitment, and this is the end result. Those who must decide [about my future] will do so," he told DAZN.

"I see myself in the Juve dugout next season. I would confirm it myself, but now we have to just enjoy what we have achieved.

"For me, it was important to finish the job: winning the Coppa Italia and qualifying for the Champions League. It was a very important goal."

There were conflicting rumours about the reasoning behind Ronaldo's absence, which was seen as curious given the importance of the game for Juve.

While some reports suggested Ronaldo made himself unavailable due to fatigue following the Coppa Italia final, others said it was Pirlo's decision, but the coach insisted they had agreed he would start on the bench.

"It was a joint decision," Pirlo said. "Ronaldo was tired after the match on Wednesday, so I opted to start Morata, who is another great player.

"Ronaldo was available. I've got a strong squad and I can pick many different players."

Nevertheless, Ronaldo finished the season as Serie A's most-prolific player with 29 goals, becoming the first player to achieve that feat in Italy's top flight, LaLiga and the Premier League.

Napoli parted ways with head coach Gennaro Gattuso on Sunday after the club missed out on qualification for next season's Champions League. 

Shortly after a 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona that consigned Napoli to finishing fifth in Serie A, president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed Gattuso's exit. 

Napoli went into the weekend in fourth position but were leapfrogged on the final day by Juventus, who were 4-1 winners at Bologna. 

Gattuso, whose contract expires at the end of June, has been linked with Fiorentina among other Italian clubs.

"Dear Rino, I am happy to have spent almost two seasons with you," tweeted De Laurentiis. 

"Thanking you for your work, I wish you success wherever you go. A hug to your wife and children too." 

Napoli took the lead against Verona through Amir Rrahmani in the 60th minute – a club-record 50th home league goal this season – but Marco Faraoni ensured the spoils were shared. 

It spelled the end of Gattuso, who took over in December 2019 following the dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti. He led Napoli to glory in the Coppa Italia and a seventh-place finish in Serie A last season. 

Napoli were surprisingly eliminated from the Europa League last 32 by Granada and missing out on Champions League qualification saw the club opt against a renewal.

Gattuso won 46 of his 81 games as Napoli boss, giving him a win percentage of 56.8 - better than Rafael Benitez (52.7 per cent) and Ancelotti (52.1 per cent) but worse than Ottavio Bianchi (56.9 per cent) and Maurizio Sarri (66.2 per cent). 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo made history on Sunday as the Juventus star finished the season as the leading goalscorer in Serie A.

The 36-year-old was an unused substitute as Juve beat Bologna 4-1 away to snatch a Champions League spot from Napoli, who were held by Hellas Verona.

Despite missing a league game for just the fifth time in 2020-21, Ronaldo finished on 29 goals, five more than his nearest rival, Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.

Ronaldo has become the first player to finish as the top scorer for a season in Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League.

The Portugal star won three Pichichi trophies while at Real Madrid – in 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15 – and won the Premier League golden boot with Manchester United in 2007-08.

Only Lionel Messi (30) and Robert Lewandowski (41) have scored more top-flight goals this season than Ronaldo among Europe's top-five leagues.

Ronaldo has scored 81 Serie A goals in 97 appearances since joining Juve from Madrid in 2018, at least 10 more than any other player in that time.

Franck Kessie's penalties gave Milan a 2-0 victory that secured their return to the Champions League after a seven-season absence as Atalanta finished with 10 men.

Milan led the way in the Scudetto race until February but fell off the pace and went into the final weekend knowing that defeat could see them slip to fifth and miss out on a place in Europe's premier club competition. 

They showed little desire to attack Atalanta, who were already guaranteed to finish in the top four, but moved ahead two minutes before half-time thanks to Kessie's first spot-kick. 

Marten de Roon was shown a red card – a little shove on the referee in response could land him in further bother – following the awarding of a second penalty in second-half stoppage time that Kessie slotted home to spark jubilation in the Milan camp.

Milan spent much of the first half successfully absorbing Atalanta pressure but they were awarded a chance to go ahead when Joakim Maehle felled Theo Hernandez in the box.

Former Atalanta midfielder Kessie confident stepped up and drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner in a massive moment for Milan.

Gian Piero Gasperini sent on Luis Muriel for the second half but the hosts struggled to test Gianluigi Donnarumma.

They nearly fell two behind in the 69th minute when Kessie surged forward and fed Rafael Leao, who saw his dink over Pierluigi Gollini hit the upright.

Milan continued to defend well as Atalanta looked for an equaliser that would have secured an unprecedented second-place finish for the club.

However, referee Maurizio Mariani pointed to the spot when Hakan Calhanoglu's mishit deflected off Jose Luis Palomino and struck Robin Gosens on the arm.

De Roon was dismissed for violent conduct in an ensuing melee and he responded by pushing the referee.

Kessie was eventually able to take his penalty and he converted again to ensure it was Napoli who missed out on Champions League qualification.

What does it mean? Milan save some face

The Rossoneri were in danger of becoming only the second team to finish outside the top three in Serie A after leading at the halfway stage – Juventus being the other side when they slipped from first to fifth in 1935-36.

However, Kessie's penalties clinched a valuable victory that secured their best league finish since 2011-12, lightening the blow of seeing arch-rivals Inter lift the trophy earlier on Sunday.

The Rossoneri also made history by becoming the first team to win 16 Serie A away games in a single season, breaking a record that was set by Inter in 2006-07.

Franck deserves a Kessie

With a pair of penalties, Kessie became the first Milan player to score 11 spot-kicks in a single Serie A campaign in history. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (12) and Ciro Immobile (14) have registered more across one season.

Maehle has a mare

The way Atalanta were playing it seemed like it would only be a matter of time until they got the opening goal, but Maehle's reckless challenge on Kessie changed the game. He gave away possession 12 times and failed to win any of his eight duels.

Key Opta Facts

- Milan will return to play in the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14 (when they were eliminated in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid).
- The Rossoneri have set a new all-time record for away wins in a Serie A season: 16. No side has ever done better in the top-five European leagues in a single campaign (16 also for Real Madrid in 2011-12 and Manchester City in 2017-18).
- Franck Kessie is the first Milan player to score two penalties in a single Serie A match since Kaka in April 2009 against Palermo.
- Atalanta have failed to score in only two of their past 21 Serie A matches: both against Milanese sides (the previous against Inter last March).
- Milan have kept a clean sheet in five consecutive Serie A games for the first time since March 2006.
- Stefano Pioli's side have taken the most penalties (20) in a single Serie A season since 2004-05 (when Opta started to collect this data).

What's next?

Milan will hope Champions League qualification enables them to tie Gianluigi Donnarumma and Calhanoglu down to new contracts, with Atalanta also able to look forward to another season in Europe's premier club competition.

Juventus have qualified for the Champions League on the final day of the Serie A season thanks to beating Bologna 4-1 and rivals Napoli only managing a draw at home to Hellas Verona.

Andrea Pirlo's men went into the weekend in danger of missing out on the Champions League for the first time since finishing seventh in 2010-11, but Verona did them a favour as they held on to a 1-1 draw in Naples, meaning Juve take fourth a point ahead of Napoli.

Juve certainly held up their end of the bargain, dismantling Bologna with consummate ease despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, with Adrien Rabiot and Federico Chiesa adding to Alvaro Morata's brace to have them 4-0 up by the 47th minute.

Riccardo Orsolini's late consolation had little bearing – the Bianconeri just had to see what happened elsewhere with Milan also in the hunt with Juve and Napoli, the latter of whom eventually became the team to miss out on the top four.

Juve looked like a team on a mission and were in front within six minutes as Chiesa converted somewhat scrappily after Dejan Kulusevski had caused havoc down the right flank.

It took them a little while to double their advantage but the second goal did arrive with half an hour played, Paulo Dybala doing brilliantly as he left the Bologna defence in knots before a chipped cross found Morata to nod home.

Rabiot then made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, the Frenchman slotting past Lukasz Skorupski from Kulusevski's lay-off at the end of a lovely flowing move.

Juve quickly picked up where they left off in the second period, Morata producing an exquisite first touch on the spin to bring Wojciech Szczesny's long ball under his spell, then holding off a defender before squeezing a powerful shot under the hands of Skorupski.

Morata nearly got his hat-trick just before the hour when hitting into the side-netting from a Juan Cuadrado cross, though former Juve talent Orsolini did score at the other end with a well-taken finish late on.

Not that it had any major impact on Juve, who never looked like dropping points and that did the job as they ensured they will be at Europe's top table next term.

Antonio Conte did not speak to the media after Inter were presented with the Serie A trophy, with assistant Cristian Stellini saying the coach needs a high-level project that the club must match.

Inter boss Conte, who has one year remaining on his contract at San Siro, is set for showdown talks with the club's board after steering them to a 19th Scudetto and their first since 2009-10.

The Nerazzurri are in a difficult position financially following the coronavirus pandemic, with the future of the head coach and a number of high-earning players consequently uncertain.

Speaking after a 5-1 win on the final day of the season on Sunday, Stellini suggested Conte would be more than happy to stay at Inter but he needs the club's ambition to match his own.

"It's something many are asking about," Stellini said to DAZN when quizzed on Conte's situation.

"We should take a step back and think back to the start of this project. It was an important three-year project to bring Inter back to victory in Italy and to succeed in Europe. In Italy we achieved a fantastic goal. Great empathy was created between the staff and the players.

"This project should continue, but the answer will only come from the club. If this project can continue, we would be very happy. But when you have a top, high-level coach, the projects must be of a high standard and must remain at the top."

It has been reported Inter could be forced to sell at least one big-name player due to their financial situation, something Stellini thinks would play a significant role in deciding Conte's position.

"It could change things, but it's something the club explains to the coach," said Stellini.

"I don't know if that will happen. I don't know when the meeting will take place and what they will say. In that way, the club could also decide the fate of their coach.

"We are optimistic because we have created what we were trying to create, which is a team that excels in Italy and wants to grow in Europe. 

"We have this possibility in our hands and we don't want to let it slip away. It was difficult to think we could interrupt the domination of Juventus. 

"The Scudetto was unthinkable. We all did an extraordinary job and that is why a team like this needs to keep growing."

Inter finished the season with 91 points, making Conte the first Serie A coach to gain at least 90 in two campaigns with different clubs.

Romelu Lukaku wants Inter to establish a prolonged period of dominance in Serie A after wrapping up their title-winning campaign with a 5-1 victory over Udinese on Sunday. 

Inter sealed top spot with four games remaining and finally got their hands on the trophy after a resounding win in front of 1,000 spectators at San Siro.

Their victory meant they gained more than 90 points in a single top-flight campaign for only the second time in their history (after 2006-07), while Antonio Conte became the first coach to achieve that tally with two different Serie A sides in the three-points-per-win era.

Ashley Young put the Nerazzurri in front early on, with goals from Christian Eriksen, Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic putting them comfortably out of reach. 

Lukaku, who came on as a second-half substitute, scored fortuitously when Alexis Sanchez's cross struck him in the chest after coming back off the post. It was his 30th goal in all competitions this season and his 24th in Serie A – only in 2016-17 for Everton has he scored more (25) in a single campaign in one of Europe's top five leagues. 

Roberto Pereyra converted a consolation penalty for Udinese but that did little to dampen the Nerazzurri's celebrations, for which fans had gathered outside the stadium. 

Having denied Juventus a 10th straight Scudetto, Lukaku urged Inter not to rest on their laurels next season. 

"I hope it can be the start [of a successful era for Inter]. Now I'll go to the European Championship with my country and when we all return, we've got to be even stronger than before," Lukaku told DAZN. 

"This year was wonderful for us because we worked so hard to win this Scudetto. Last season we came really close, but this year we played well, were physically strong. We all made a big step forward. 

"I am truly proud to play for this team." 

Lukaku donned a personalised t-shirt with an image of his grandparents on and became tearful as he celebrated the first major honour of his career.

"I didn't want to cry today, but the emotion was just too strong. This photo is of my grandmother and my grandfather, and I thought of them," said Lukaku. 

"When my grandfather died in 2005, I promised him I would win at least something in my career. I did that today and I am truly happy." 

Inter capped their Scudetto-winning season with a resounding 5-1 victory over Udinese at San Siro on Sunday. 

Ashley Young, making what is expected to be his final appearance for Inter, got Antonio Conte's side up and running early on and Christian Eriksen's deflected free-kick doubled their advantage at the end of a tepid first half. 

Lautaro Martinez converted a penalty 10 minutes after the restart and Ivan Perisic added a majestic finish in front of the 1,000 spectators invited by the club to witness their crowning moment. 

Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored a fortuitous 30th goal of the season in all competitions before Roberto Pereyra converted a consolation penalty, but that did little to stop Inter celebrating as they finally got their hands on the trophy in front of a gathering of fans outside the stadium. 

Inter's coronation got off to a great start with Young latching onto Martinez's deflected shot and dinking a fine finish over Juan Musso after eight minutes. 

Eriksen replaced Stefano Sensi, who went off with an injury that could impact his hopes of representing Italy at Euro 2020, and found the back of the net with a powerful free-kick that took a touch off Stefano Okaka. 

Inter moved further ahead in the 55th minute when Marvin Zeegelaar tripped Achraf Hakimi inside the box and Martinez drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner. 

A swift break ended with Perisic curling Matias Vecino's pass across goal and into the top-right corner, before a cross from Alexis Sanchez hit the post and rebounded in off the chest of an unaware Lukaku. 

Inter were unable to keep a clean sheet as Nahuel Molina's cross was headed onto Eriksen's hand by Alessandro Bastoni and Pereyra beat Daniele Padelli, who replaced Samir Handanovic at half-time for what is set to be his final appearance for the club, from the spot in the 79th minute. 

The Premier League's big-money clubs are circling for Declan Rice.

The England international has been a key figure in West Ham's quest for European football in 2021-22.

Will the Hammers hold on to the defensive midfielder? 

 

TOP STORY - WEST HAM'S RICE IN DEMAND

Interest in 22-year-old Declan Rice is heating up, the Telegraph reports.

Chelsea may be the strongest suitors for the West Ham player, potentially using Tammy Abraham in a swap deal to land him.

Manchester United also are said to be monitoring Rice's status as he could be set to move on from Upton Park in a £90million deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- If Cristiano Ronaldo departs Juventus, La Stampa says Barcelona's France international Antoine Griezmann is being lined up as a potential replacement.

- Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero is drawing interest from Everton and Juventus after failing to find regular playing time at Old Trafford, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Lautaro Martinez could be on the move from Italy to Spain as the Inter Milan striker's agent met with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, Marca claimed.

- Loanee Dani Ceballos will leave Arsenal this summer as parent club Real Madrid invite permanent offers for the midfielder, Fabrizio Romano reports.

Newcastle are eyeing a move for USA international Cameron Carter-Vickers, who spent the season with Bournemouth on loan from Tottenham, according to SBI Soccer.

Andrea Pirlo still hopes to stay on as Juventus coach and keep Cristiano Ronaldo at the club as he prepares for Sunday's decisive Serie A clash with Bologna.

Juve sit fifth in the table after 37 matches, a point behind Napoli in fourth and Milan in third, and they know they must win to have any chance of finishing in a Champions League spot.

Pirlo's first season in charge has been difficult. The Bianconeri lost their title to Inter and crashed out of the Champions League to Porto at the last-16 stage.

However, they have still claimed two trophies in 2021, winning the Supercoppa Italiana match against Napoli in January before lifting the Coppa Italia this week after defeating Atalanta 2-1 in the final.

Speculation persists that Juve will look to replace Pirlo before next season, while it has also been rumoured they could sanction the sale of Ronaldo, who has scored 36 goals in all competitions this term.

Pirlo, however, appears eager to keep working with Ronaldo at the Allianz Stadium and improve on his first campaign in the dugout.

"We do this job for the adrenaline that it brings," he said on Saturday. "I want to continue working with this team and this club, but I think that's normal.

"The greatest satisfaction of this season has been the relationship with the boys, who have given me a lot, whilst I haven't liked the results and we didn't reach the set goals.

"I was a winner as a player, I want to be a manager, so I think of this year as an opportunity to improve. I don't think that the club will decide my future on the basis of tomorrow. We'll see what happens.  

"After the Milan game [a 3-0 defeat on May 9], we were 'dead'; now, we are still alive. Let's think about ourselves first, and then see what happens elsewhere. We mustn't have any regrets. There is always pressure, but we are calm and there is enthusiasm."

He added on Ronaldo: "I see Cristiano at Juventus and extremely focused, just as I saw him in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday."

One figure who is set to leave Juve after this season is Gianluigi Buffon, with the 43-year-old having announced he will not commit to the club for 2021-22.

Pirlo said of his old team-mate: "With Buffon, Juve is losing a monument of football, both on and off the pitch. It's a sad feeling as we have come a long way together. I admire him very much."

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