Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not feature for Sweden at Euro 2020, head coach Janne Andersson has confirmed.

 

Lautaro Martinez sees winning the Scudetto as vindication for his decision to stay at Inter, where he has formed a superb partnership with fellow forward Romelu Lukaku.

Martinez was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona throughout the 2019-20 season, with the player even discussing a possible switch to Camp Nou with fellow Argentine Lionel Messi.

However, the 23-year-old instead opted to stick around at San Siro, remaining a key part of Antonio Conte's squad as the Nerazzurri secured a first Serie A title since 2010.

Inter had finished second in the previous season but have kicked on after that disappointment, running away from their rivals since the turn of the year to be crowned champions and end Juventus' nine-year dominance in the competition.

"I am very happy to be at Inter, even more so after this Scudetto which has been missing for so many years," Martinez said in an interview with Sky Sport Italia.

"We are experiencing an incredible moment and I cannot think of anything other than being here.

"I was close to Barcelona, I had also spoken with Messi. Afterwards, I made a choice - I chose to stay here and I was not wrong."

Martinez's combination with Lukaku has been a key factor for Inter, the pair scoring 75 league goals between them in their two seasons together at the club.

Lukaku has been a revelation since joining from Manchester United. After 23 goals in his debut Serie A campaign, he is at 22 this time around with two games to play, as well as providing 11 assists.

The Belgian striker has been ruthless too, converting 52.8 per cent of what Opta describes as 'big' chances, which is where a player is expected to score.

Martinez – who has 16 goals and five assists in the league in 2020-21 – believes the dynamic duo have continually pushed each other to raise the bar under Conte, in part due to the competition provided by having the experienced Alexis Sanchez in the squad.

"We built our relationship from the first day he arrived," Martinez said of Lukaku.

"The year before he had watched Inter's matches and we talked about this for two or three hours after the first training session. He speaks Spanish, we understood each other immediately.

"I always tell him that there is a match between the three of us, because every training session we try to improve and give our best.

"Each one has taken a step forward this year and this is important for the growth of Inter and this group."

Lionel Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona. 

That bond will not sway Barca's off-season plans, though.

The Spanish giants have reportedly turned their eyes to a younger option. 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PREFER HAALAND TO MESSI STAY

Barcelona are so desperate to lure Erling Haaland to Camp Nou that they would be willing to let superstar captain Lionel Messi walk away if they can sign the Borussia Dortmund star, according to The Sun.

Barca's financial situation would make it difficult to pay both players, and the report claims Messi might see his wages cut in half if he stays with the LaLiga powerhouse amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City

Numerous clubs are circling for Haaland, including City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Raul is favourite to take over as Madrid head coach next season if Zinedine Zidane leaves. Madrid great Raul is chasing promotion with the club's Castilla side.

Barca are set to complete the double free transfers of City star Sergio Aguero and Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sport.

Arsenal and Martin Odegaard have a mutual interest in extending the Norway international's loan stay at the Premier League, according to Football London. He has two goals in 18 appearances in all competitions since arriving on loan from Madrid.

- Diario AS reports PSG are set to swoop in for Sergio Ramos by offering the Madrid captain and soon-to-be free agent a two-year contract. Ramos has also been linked to United.

- Though Juventus may be facing an exodus if they miss out on Champions League football next season, the Bianconeri are interested in Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato. 

United may shore up their midfield with a bid for Getafe's Mauro Arambarri, Diario AS reports. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2023. The Mirror, meanwhile, says United remain keen on Atletico Madrid star Marcos Llorente.

Atletico are interested in Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, claims the Daily Star. Keita has struggled for form and fitness since moving to Anfield from RB Leipzig in 2018.

Cristiano Ronaldo and "many others" will leave if Juventus fail to qualify for the Champions League, according to Christian Vieri.

It has been a forgettable season for Juve, who had their run of nine consecutive Serie A titles snapped by newly crowned champions Inter, amid doubts over Ronaldo and first-year head coach Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo's position is under intense scrutiny as Juve languish fifth in the table, with Champions League qualification now out of their hands ahead of Saturday's showdown against Inter.

Ronaldo also continues to be linked with a move away from Juve amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain and former club Manchester United.

Italian great Vieri – who played for both Juve and Inter – warned of a mass exodus if the Bianconeri were absent from Europe's premier club competition for the first time since 2011-12.

"For me, Inter will win in Turin and Juventus won't play the Champions League next season," Vieri said via his Twitch program 'Bobo TV'.

"Without Champions League football, Ronaldo will leave and many others will follow him, Juventus will face a severe financial crisis.

"It will be a dramatic failure and many players will leave."

Juventus have conceded at least one goal in each of their last 13 games in all competitions; they last suffered a longer such run in 1955 (21 games in a row).

After winning 2-0 in the reverse fixture, Inter could claim two consecutive Serie A games against Juve for the first time since 2003-04 under Alberto Zaccheroni, while the Nerazzurri last beat the Bianconeri on the road in the league in 2012.

Ronaldo made his senior debut with Sporting CP against Inter via a Champions League qualifier in August 2002. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored four goals in 10 matches in all competitions against the Nerazzurri (W5 D4 L1).

Cristiano Ronaldo will not join Sporting CP despite his mother's best efforts to convince the Juventus forward to return to the club, according to his agent Jorge Mendes. 

Ronaldo has gone on to become one of the all-time greats since leaving Sporting to join Manchester United for £12.24million as a teenager in 2003.

The Portugal captain was a revelation at Real Madrid after leaving the Red Devils in 2009, breaking the LaLiga giants' all-time scoring record with a staggering tally of 450 goals.

Ronaldo joined Juventus three years ago and, with his contract due to expire in 2022, the 36-year-old's future has been the subject of speculation as Andrea Pirlo's side are in danger of missing out on Champions League football next season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's mother, Dolores, hopes her son can help Sporting add further honours after sealing their first Primeira Liga title in 19 years. 

"I will talk to him and try to convince him to return next year," she was filmed saying by TVI 24. "To the Alvalade Stadium and to wear the colours of Sporting."

However, Mendes has poured cold water on the speculation and said Ronaldo has no plans to return to his homeland just yet. 

"Cristiano is proud of the title won by Sporting, as he has publicly demonstrated," Mendes told Record. "But at the moment his career plans do not go through Portugal."

Ronaldo scored his 100th Juve goal in a 3-1 Serie A victory at Sassuolo on Wednesday.

Andrea Pirlo feels he and his Juventus players could have done much more in their meek Serie A title defence.

Juventus host Inter on Saturday in a game that looked set at one time to be a blockbuster Scudetto decider.

However, the Old Lady will welcome Antonio Conte's freshly crowned champions with their own form having fallen away, to the extent Champions League qualification is now out of Juve's hands.

"Inter have done better, have been more consistent and hungrier than us," Pirlo told a pre-match news conference.

"Facing the newly crowned Italian champions gives us more motivation. Let's not forget that we have a chance to qualify for the Champions League. Inter will try to win the game.

“Congratulations to Inter for the Scudetto, but we could have done more."

Despite Juve sitting perilously in fifth, a point behind Napoli in the final Champions League qualifying spot with two games remaining, Pirlo explained next Wednesday's Coppa Italia final against Atalanta would come into his thinking with regards to selection.

"Alex Sandro plays tomorrow because he's suspended for the Coppa Italia final," Pirlo said.

"For the others, we will see. We must recover energy."

Defender Merih Demiral is fit to feature for the first time since March following thigh problems, bolstering a Juve squad who returned to winning ways by beating Sassuolo 3-1 away last time out, on Wednesday evening.

"The performance on Wednesday suggests that we are sorry, we could have had more points by always remaining as focused as we were in Reggio Emilia," Pirlo added.

"At the end of the year, we will review the whole season, analysing the mistakes to not commit them again."

The long-term futures of Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho are set to become clearer soon.

Lingard has impressed on loan from Manchester United at West Ham, reviving his career as David Moyes' side push to secure European football for next season.

England international Sancho, meanwhile, has dazzled since moving to Germany - but is he now ready to return home?

 

TOP STORY - LINGARD AND SANCHO TO SWAP PLACES

The Sun reports that Manchester United will offer Jesse Lingard to Borussia Dortmund as part of a swap deal for Jadon Sancho.

United chased Sancho last year but were unable to land the winger due to Dortmund's asking price.

It is understood the value held by the Bundesliga club is around £100million (€116m), so Lingard's inclusion may help drive that down and seal a deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Times claims that Manchester City have formalised the top four players on their off-season shopping list in forwards Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Lautaro Martinez and Andre Silva.

- Manchester United are preparing a bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente worth £68m (€79m), reports the Mirror.

- Off-contract Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand is attracting interest from Leicester City, claims the Leicester Mercury.

- Per Marca, Barcelona have an agreement in place to sign Memphis Depay, who is soon to be out of contract at Lyon. The Dutch forward is set to be reunited with Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.

Cristiano Ronaldo's mother could attempt to persuade her superstar son to return to Sporting CP next year.

Ronaldo has gone on to become one of the all-time greats since leaving Sporting to join Manchester United for £12.24million as a teenager in 2003.

The Portugal captain was a revelation at Real Madrid after leaving the Red Devils in 2009, breaking the LaLiga giants' all-time scoring record with a staggering tally of 450 goals.

Ronaldo joined Juventus three years ago and with his contract due to expire in 2022, the 36-year-old's future has been the subject of speculation with Andrea Pirlo's side in danger of missing out on Champions League football next season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's mother, Dolores, has been celebrating Sporting's first Primeira Liga title in 19 years.

And she hopes her son can play a big role in helping the famous Lisbon club add further honours. 

"I will talk to him and try to convince him to return next year," she was filmed by TVI 24 saying. "To the Alvalade Stadium and to wear the colours of Sporting."

Sporting defeated Boavista 1-0 on Tuesday to be crowned champions of Portugal for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

Ronaldo scored his 100th Juve goal in a 3-1 Serie A victory at Sassuolo on Wednesday.

Lautaro Martinez's contract renewal discussions are "on standby" until Inter's "situation" becomes clearer, according to the striker's agent Alejandro Camano.

Martinez, 23, is approaching the end of his third season in Italy, with 2020-21 already his most prolific in Serie A having scored 16 times in 36 matches.

Once a target for Barcelona, speculation around Martinez has been much quieter this season, with the exception of tentative claims lately that Real Madrid see him as a potential alternative to Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

The Argentina international has two years left on his Inter contract, but he and Camano seem reluctant to rush into a new agreement.

Although the club have just won their first Scudetto since 2010, Inter have significant financial problems, with Sky Sport Italia recently claiming president Steven Zhang has asked the players to give up their wages for two months to ease the burden.

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti accepts their money worries are "serious", though he did not comment on stories suggesting players have been urged to surrender their wages.

Nevertheless, Martinez will not be discussing a new deal while Inter's situation remains uncertain, and there was a sign of unrest on Wednesday as Antonio Conte told the striker to "show respect" when he reacted petulantly to being taken off against Roma despite having been substituted on earlier in the match.

"I can't promise anything, at present it is useless to make predictions," Camano told Gazzetta dello Sport. "We, like others, first want to understand what the future of the club will be.

"[The renewal] is absolutely on standby. For the moment there's no meeting [scheduled]. I think we'll see each other once the championship is over.

"We are calm, but the current situation of Inter prevents us from making any predictions. The boy is happy in Milan, he has just won a Scudetto as a protagonist, but we cannot help but wait."

Camano was also asked to address the Madrid rumours, and he stressed he is not talking to any other club either.

"I reply by saying that I am not talking to any club," the agent said. "Lautaro is an Inter player and he still has a two-year contract, Inter is still the priority.

"As mentioned, however, it is a question of understanding what will happen from a corporate point of view."

Camano also represents Martinez's Inter team-mate Achraf Hakimi, who in the past week or so has been linked with Bayern Munich.

However, Camano expects him to remain in San Siro.

"Achraf's situation is different as he still has a four-year contract. Today, I say he remains," he said.

What does the future hold for Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez?

The pair helped Inter to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

But both could depart San Siro as Inter look to cut costs.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU AND LAUTARO TO LEAVE INTER?

Inter could be forced to sell star forwards Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Antonio Conte's Inter have been crowned Serie A champions this season, but the Nerazzurri have financial problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lukaku has been linked with former club Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while team-mate Martinez has long been tipped to join Barca.

Alessandro Bastoni is also listed in the report amid links to Manchester City and Liverpool, while star full-back Achraf Hakimi is said to be of interest to Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Thursday's Mundo Deportivo reports Barca look at the idea of signing City's Sergio Aguero favourably. Aguero is out of contract at season's end and he has been linked with Inter, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham. But the Argentina star reportedly wants to play alongside countryman Lionel Messi. A move for Aguero would not prevent Barca from signing fellow free agent and Lyon captain Memphis Depay. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is also a target for the LaLiga giants. It comes amid doubts over the future of head coach Ronald Koeman.

Manchester United and Arsenal are battling to sign Sparta Prague sensation Abdallah Sima, claims the Mirror. Sima is reportedly valued at £25million (€29m).

- Sky Sports says United are interested in Juventus defender Cristian Romero, who could cost £34m (€40m). The 23-year-old Argentinian joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal from Juve and the Serie A side have an option to buy Romero. United have also been linked with Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

- Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could replace Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace after emerging as a leading contender, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is weighing up offers but the outgoing Italian great is set to reject Flamengo as he floated the possibility of retirement.

Buffon will leave Juventus at the end of the season, having re-joined the Serie A powerhouse two years ago after spending the 2018-19 campaign at Paris Saint-Germain.

The 43-year-old star has been linked with LaLiga giants Barcelona as well as clubs in MLS and the Middle East, while Flamengo are also reportedly interested.

Buffon discussed his future after saving a penalty in Wednesday's 3-1 victory at Sassuolo.

"I've received some interesting offers, I want to see in 20 days if I will still have enthusiasm and desire to work hard," Buffon told Sky Sport Italia post-match.

"If I still feel to be Buffon, I'll accept the offer. Otherwise, I will retire."

On the Flamengo speculation, with the Brazilian champions led by former goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, Buffon told TNT Sports Brazil: "Flamengo contacted me to join them as a free agent but I think I'm not gonna accept.

"I'll stay closer [to Turin]... that's what I hope."

Buffon became the oldest goalkeeper to have saved a penalty in Serie A after denying Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi from the spot midweek.

This season, Buffon has made eight Serie A appearances and 13 across all competitions.

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar said he wants to play with Cristiano Ronaldo amid speculation over the superstar's future at Juventus.

Ronaldo, who reached 100 goals for Juventus during Wednesday's 3-1 win at Sassuolo, has been tipped to leave the struggling Serie A giants at the end of the season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, and former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid.

PSG star Neymar – who has signed a new contract with the Ligue 1 holders – talked up a partnership with Ronaldo, having played alongside Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

"I want to play with Cristiano Ronaldo," the 29-year-old Brazil international told GQ.

"I have already played with great players, like [Lionel] Messi and [Kylian] Mbappe, but I haven't played with Cristiano Ronaldo yet."

Neymar is contracted to PSG until 2025 following his new deal in the French capital.

The forward joined the Ligue 1 champions from Barcelona on a five-year deal at a world-record cost of €222million in August 2017.

Neymar's new terms will reportedly see him earn €30m (£26m) per season in Paris, where he has scored eight Ligue 1 goals this season and 16 across all competitions.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta is hopeful that head coach Antonio Conte will still be in charge at San Siro next season but is unable to offer any guarantees.

Conte guided Inter to their first Scudetto triumph since 2009-10 this season with four games to spare and is under contract for another year.

However, the Italian giants are facing well-documented financial issues and Conte is reportedly considering his future beyond the end of this campaign.

Talks are said to be planned between the ex-Chelsea boss and president Steven Zhang once Inter have played their remaining two league matches.

And when asked by Sky Sport Italia whether Conte will still be in the Inter dugout next season, Marotta could not give a definitive answer. 

"As a person and a director, I certainly hope so," Marotta said. "He helped to start a new era in two seasons that were affected by COVID. 

"If we look over two years of the Conte era, we have second place in Serie A and the title won several weeks in advance, and have also reached the Europa League final.

"We certainly hope to continue together even during these difficulties."

Inter have asked players to accept a pay cut as part of a cost-cutting exercise, while the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been linked with moves away.

But Marotta insists the pre-existing contracts already in place will be respected by Inter should the players reject the club's request.

"Everything started with a meeting with the president, who explained the current moment football is experiencing with maximum serenity," he said.

"Zhang made the players aware of the delicate position the club is in, but he didn't oblige anyone [to take wage cuts]. It's up to everyone to make a decision with their conscience. 

"We have full respect for the players who have given the club an extraordinary joy this season. I'll repeat: Inter will honour all their agreements."

Marotta was speaking ahead of Inter's meeting with Roma on Wednesday, which the Nerazzurri won 3-1 to make it a club-record extending 15 home league victories in a row.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled a goal back for Roma after midfield pair Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino had given Inter a two-goal advantage in a lively first half at San Siro.

But Lukaku's 22nd Serie A goal of the campaign - only Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo with 28 has more - tapped in late on to seal a first home win against Roma since 2015.

With that goal, Lukaku became the fourth Inter player to score at least 15 goals at home in a single Serie A season in the last 45 years, after Christian Vieri (19 in 2002-03), Diego Milito (17 in 2011-12) and Mauro Icardi (16 in 2016-17 and in 2017-18).

The game was a milestone occasion for Conte, who was taking charge of his 100th Inter match in all competitions since arriving at the start of last season.

He has won 63 of those games, which is the most of any coach in their first 100 games with the Nerazzurri since 1929-30.

Conte did not speak to reporters before or after the game, but assistant Cristian Stellini praised his players for their attitude to see off Roma with the Scudetto already sealed.

"It's always good when you play with this desire and fighting spirit," he said at the post-match news conference. 

"There was a little tension, but we managed to make it 15 wins in a row at San Siro.

"Nothing changes after winning the title. You have to continue with the same mentality and attitude, although we can play with a little more happiness."

One blemish for Inter was losing Alexis Sanchez to an apparent ankle sprain before half-time, but Stellini is expecting the forward to make a swift return to action in time for the weekend trip to Juventus.

"He took a blow to his ankle and lost a bit of sensitivity, so he wanted to come off," the Inter assistant said. "We think we can get him back for the next match in Turin."

Stefano Pioli says Milan's 7-0 rout of Torino was another example of their "great growth" and challenged his side to reap what they have sown by securing a Champions League spot.

The Rossoneri tore Torino to pieces in a ruthless rout at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on Wednesday, moving above Napoli into third place in Serie A with two games to play.

Ante Rebic - starting in place of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic - scored a quickfire second-half hat-trick and Theo Hernandez was on target in both halves with brilliant finishes as magnificent Milan ran riot three days after beating Juventus 3-0 in Turin.

Franck Kessie was on target from the penalty spot and Brahim Diaz scored one of the five goals Milan scored in a devastating second-half display.

Milan are three points clear of fifth-placed Juve - who beat Sassuolo 3-1 - in the battle for a top-four finish and Pioli says they must finish off the job.

The head coach told Milan TV: "Thinking of winning the game with such a clear result was difficult, but we wanted another concrete performance like the one against Juventus. 

"We are happy with this, but we have to continue like this because we have not done anything yet."

Pioli says two huge results in Turin in quick succession demonstrated the strides his side have made.

"The team is mature and this is the sign of a growth made up of ups and downs that are natural because we are a young team," he added.

"Everything has served and now we have to reap what we have sown. 

"We had to face two difficult and important trips and having faced them with the right mental attitude is a symptom of great growth."

Victory for Milan was their 15th away from home in Serie A this season, matching a record set by Inter in the 2006-07 campaign.

It was the first time for 20 years they have scored six or more times in a Serie A away match, with the last occasion coming when they humiliated Inter 6-0.

Milan face Cagliari on Sunday before finishing their campaign with a trip to second-placed Atalanta.

Andrea Pirlo said his Juventus players showed they "can face any situation" after winning 3-1 at Sassuolo to keep their hopes of a top-four Serie A finish alive.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala both scored to take their respective Juventus goal tallies to 100 in all competitions, and Adrien Rabiot was also on the scoresheet as Pirlo's men recovered from a disastrous 3-0 defeat to Milan.

The result leaves the Bianconeri fifth in the table, one point behind Napoli in the final Champions League qualification spot with two games left to play, but their performance at Mapei Stadium gave Pirlo confidence.

"There have been so many games where we quickly let our guard down, which is not enough when wearing that jersey," Pirlo told DAZN.

"If you are focused and have the right mind, you can face any situation, like tonight.

"We are still there, we will believe in it until the end."

Juventus must prepare for the visit of newly crowned Serie A champions Inter to Allianz Stadium on Saturday, before they face Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final and then take on Bologna on the final day of the league season.

Pirlo acknowledged the pressure that has been building on his side across a season marked by inconsistency, in which their nine-year grip on the Scudetto has slipped.

"We struggled in the last few games," said Pirlo, reflecting on a run of two wins in five matches before the victory over Sassuolo.

"That's what annoys me the most, because the weight of the ball at Juve is different: when you miss, you pay.

"We now have to recover our energies for Saturday. Then we will see tactically how we handle this match."

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