Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "enjoying the adventure" of Anthony Elanga's development, as the pair prepare to team up for Sweden in this month's World Cup qualifiers.

The veteran Milan striker and young Manchester United forward could both come into play for Janne Andersson's side in their play-off campaign in UEFA qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Sweden face the Czech Republic and, if victorious, will play Poland for a spot at this year's tournament, though Ibrahimovic is suspended for the first encounter.

Even if he is restricted to a spectator role, the attacker is looking forward to seeing his compatriot in action, sharing memories of their first meeting when together at Old Trafford.

"We're all happy and we're enjoying the adventure he is on," Ibrahimovic said.

"He just started and he's on the way up so it's good. You will have something to watch for another 20 years,

"First time I met him, we were in the restaurant in the [United] training ground. He came up to me and he said, 'you know my father'.

"I was like, help me now because I don't know who I'm talking to. 'You played with my father Elanga', and then everything clicked and I said 'OK'.

"It made me happy because I wasn't the only Swedish one in Manchester, we had another Swedish player.

Ibrahimovic played alongside Elanga's father Joseph, a former Cameroon international, during his formative years at Malmo in his home country.

Elanga was born in Malmo in 2002. The United winger would have been eligible to play for Cameroon and England, in addition to Sweden, but opted for the Blue and Yellow after representing them at youth level.

 

Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic fears the thought of retiring and says he may "disappear completely" once his playing career comes to an end.

Ibrahimovic turned 40 in October but remains a key part of Milan's squad and is reportedly in talks over signing a new contract beyond the end of this season.

The former Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United star has struggled with injuries this term, yet he has still featured 22 times in all competitions for Milan.

As well as helping to steer Milan to a first Scudetto since 2011, Ibrahimovic is also hoping to help Sweden to the 2022 World Cup after reversing his retirement decision last year.

And while he is still being called upon for club and country, Ibrahimovic does not intend to hang up his boots.

"I have this fear about retirement: what will happen next? I know I will have other possibilities and offers," he said at a news conference on Tuesday while away on Sweden duty.

"But this adrenaline I feel on the pitch, I know I won't find that anywhere else. That's why I'm having this panic. I'll carry on as much as possible and just enjoy it.

"We'll see when the time comes. I could take a break or disappear completely.

"We are programmed to wake up, train, go home and rest. This goes on for 20-25 years, but one day I'll wake up and have nothing planned. That will be a strange feeling."

 

Ibrahimovic is suspended for Sweden's World Cup qualifying play-off tie against the Czech Republic, but he will be available for the final against Poland should his side advance.

Sweden have called up Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga for the first time, a player who is 21 years younger than Ibrahimovic.

But while hopes are high for Elanga and what he can bring to the national team, Ibrahimovic joked his country will not come close to replacing him once he retires for good.

Sat alongside new team-mate Elanga, Ibrahimovic said: "Enjoy it while I'm on the pitch, because you won't see anything like it again.

"You'll see Elanga, I say that with all due respect, but you won't see Ibrahimovic any more, so enjoy while you can."

As well as representing Milan, Barca, PSG and United, Ibrahimovic has also played for Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter and Los Angeles Galaxy across a 23-year career.

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana incredibly walked away without serious injury from a major car crash on his way to join up with the Cameroon national team on Tuesday.

Onana, who is expected to join Inter at the end of the season on a free transfer, was travelling from the capital Yaounde to the port city of Douala, where the Indomitable Lions are gathering ahead of their World Cup play-off against Algeria.

Local media showed pictures of the car in which Onana was travelling, and another vehicle, with the front part of each being badly mangled.

Onana, 25, was taken from the crash site to the Cameroon team base and posed for pictures, appearing unhurt; however, it was determined he should head for hospital check-ups.

"Andre Onana is fine," the team's official Twitter page stated. "The Indomitable Lions goalkeeper joined his team-mates in the den in Douala this morning.

"More fear than harm for the moment after the traffic accident he suffered early this morning in Sombo on the Yaounde to Douala axis.

"Andre Onana will undergo in-depth examinations in a referral hospital centre in Douala."

Cameroon will host Algeria in the first leg of their play-off on Friday, with the second leg taking place in Blida next Tuesday. The aggregate winner will qualify for the Qatar 2022 finals.

Blaise Matuidi believes Juventus will struggle to replace Paulo Dybala when he departs at the end of the season.

Juve chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene confirmed on Monday that Dybala's contract will not be renewed.

The Argentina forward's deal expires at the end of June and the Bianconeri have opted against offering him an extension.

Dybala has scored 113 goals for the Serie A giants, ranking him third all-time among the club's non-Italian scorers, behind only David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

He joined Juve from Palermo in a deal worth up to €40million in June 2015 and has proved to be a shrewd acquisition, finding the back of the net 80 times in 202 Serie A appearances.

 

Matuidi is surprised the Turin giants have allowed his former team-mate to move on and says he will leave a big void.

The ex-France international told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I have an excellent relationship with him, I heard the news, but I have not yet had the opportunity to speak to him.

"He is a great man, as well as a great player. I am very surprised because I think that it will not be easy for Juventus to replace him and find a new player at his level.

"He has done fantastic things in recent years, the fans love him and they will never forget him. I am sure he will find a club that will allow him to continue to grow and do well.

"The only explanation is that Juventus have decided to renew the team. I know it's difficult to accept, but in these situations you have to know how to turn the page."

Juve have been linked with Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo as they prepare for life without Dybala.

Arrivabene explained the reasoning behind Dybala's impending departure, telling Tuttomercatoweb.com: "The most important change is that Juventus has not renewed Paulo Dybala's contract.

"With the transfer market, I reiterated it: the approach was sincere. With the signings made in January, with the arrival of [Dusan] Vlahovic, Paulo's position is not what it was anymore at the centre of the project.

"That is why we preferred to make this kind of decision."

Argentine forward Paulo Dybala is set to exit Juventus at the end of this season.

As a result, the Bianconeri are assessing their options for a replacement.

Juventus are currently fourth in Serie A after an excellent run of results which have put them into the title picture.

TOP STORY – ZANIOLO FRAMED AS DYBALA REPLACEMENT 

TuttoMercato claims Juventus have set their sights on Nicolo Zaniolo as Dybala's replacement, with the Roma attacker unlikely to renew with the Giallorossi before his contract expires in 2024.

The first domino in this instance is Dybala, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Juventus have no intention of extending according to Fabrizio Romano. Romano claims the 28-year-old will not move another club in Serie A, opening up a move to long-time suitor Tottenham.

According to TuttoMercato, Juve have chosen Zaniolo as their replacement and would be ready to make a move in the upcoming transfer window. Whether they can manoeuvre to match his current market value of €40million remains to be seen, however.

ROUND-UP

- Per Sky Sports, Manchester United have narrowed their shortlist for a permanent manager down to Ajax's Erik ten Hag, Sevilla's Julen Lopetegui, Spain boss Luis Enrique and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino .

- Inter have targeted Edinson Cavani as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Calciomercato reports Arsenal will make a move for Arthur in the upcoming transfer window, as contract negotiations with Juventus have broken down.

- Arsenal are also keen to tie Bukayo Saka to a long-term contract, in attempts to fend off outside interest for the 20-year-old, per The Athletic.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli wants to "write a new page of history" as the Rossoneri chase a first Scudetto in 11 years.

Pioli's side sit three points clear at the Serie A summit after edging past Cagliari 1-0 on Saturday, their third consecutive victory by that scoreline.

Fellow title contenders Napoli and Inter remain in close company, with Luciano Spalletti's team three points back and the defending champions six adrift, albeit with a game in hand.

Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus are also just seven behind the league leaders as Milan nudge towards a first Serie A title since the 2010-11 campaign.

While his players continue to deliver on the pitch, Pioli was keen to credit his relationship with the club's former centre-back and current technical director Paolo Maldini as the pair look to lay their marker on Italian football.

"I'm lucky to talk to him daily, he's an indispensable point of reference," Pioli said at the Expo 2020 in United Arab Emirates, which he is attending with Milan's academy. 

"I've always said that I’ve been lucky enough to coach a great group, players who perfectly embody the values of this club. Together, we are trying to write a new page in history.

"After just a few days at Milan, I felt something that I'd never felt anywhere else, I felt immediately at home. That's what Milan is for me: home. Pressure is part of my job, but it is also motivating because it reminds me that I can always do better.

"During a journey there may be moments when you slow down, but the important thing is to keep going and never stop.

"Our goal is to make our fans happy. That is why we play. We are fortunate to have extraordinary supporters and we will never stop thanking them because their passion has always been contagious."

Veteran duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud have been integral both off and on the pitch for Milan, and Pioli heaped praise on the pair for their influence this season.

"Milan needs everyone. Zlatan and Olivier know what it means to win and the sacrifices needed to achieve great results. I think this team has great potential," he added.

"We've never ruled out anything, but this is my current opinion, let's collect more points than last season, let's play every game as if it were absolutely decisive and then see where we end up."

Milan will look to continue their title charge after the international break when they host Bologna on Monday, April 4.

Juventus chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene has confirmed Paulo Dybala will leave the Bianconeri when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Dybala moved from Palermo to Juventus in June 2015 in a deal worth up to €40million and has since scored 80 goals in 202 Serie A appearances.

The forward was on target in Sunday's 2-0 win over Serie A strugglers Salernitana, with Alvaro Morata alone matching his league tally of eight for Juve so far this season.

Dybala now has 113 goals across all competitions for Juve, ranking him third all-time among the club’s non-Italian scorers, behind only David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

However, head coach Massimiliano Allegri suggested he did not know what the future held for the Argentina international, before reports claimed he would be departing.

Arrivabene reinforced those claims on Monday, as he told Tuttomercatoweb.com: "The most important change is that Juventus has not renewed Paulo Dybala's contract.

"With the transfer market, I reiterated it: the approach was sincere. With the signings made in January, with the arrival of [Dusan] Vlahovic, Paulo's position is not what it was any more at the centre of the project.

"That is why we preferred to make this kind of decision."

Previous reports suggested Dybala had reached a verbal agreement with Juve last October before nothing came of the negotiations, and Arrivabene acknowledged the club's January business had changed their thinking.

"The parameters were different. I had already talked about it; no one has ever questioned Paulo's ability," he continued. "There were considerations to be made on appearances, contract length and financial considerations.

"We had to make our choices in January, we made them, we got here. For Juventus, it would have been easy to make a lower offer, but it would have been disrespectful towards Paulo. The decision has been made. Today's meeting was friendly, clear and respectful."

Romelu Lukaku credited Cristiano Ronaldo for motivating him to find "another level" at Inter when the pair competed together in Serie A.

Lukaku led Inter to their first Scudetto in over a decade last season, scoring 24 league goals, before returning to former club Chelsea in a £97.5million (€115m) move ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Belgium international is yet to hit the same lofty heights at Stamford Bridge, finding the net just five times in 19 league appearances this season, but his efforts at Inter continue to be recognised.

Lukaku has been named as the 2020-21 Footballer of the Year by the Italian Footballers Association, while former coach Antonio Conte and Inter were respectively honoured as Coach of the Year and Club of the Year.

Meanwhile, Chelsea man Lukaku was joined in the Top 11 for the season by Ronaldo, who scored 29 goals for Juventus before himself heading back to the Premier League with Manchester United.

Former Juventus forward Ronaldo was also announced as part of the team of the season, and Lukaku hailed the Portugal star for pushing him to achieve what he did at Inter.

"It's truly an honour to have been voted the best player and to have entered last year's Top 11 in Serie A," Lukaku said.

"I want to thank everyone who voted for me and especially my team-mates, because I think without the team I couldn't have made it. We won together, the coach was always next to us, as well as the club and the fans.

"Playing in Serie A was a dream I had since I was a child and I did everything necessary to win in Italy.

"Finding yourself in front of Cristiano Ronaldo is something that does not happen often, because for me he is in the top three of the best players in the history of football, a player who really took me to another level.

"This award gives me great confidence for the future."

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez will miss international duty with Argentina after testing positive for COVID-19.

Martinez was called up for Lionel Scaloni's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifying fixtures against Venezuela and Ecuador.

But the 24-year-old will not feature after returning a positive test for coronavirus ahead of travelling to South America on Sunday.

Martinez will now serve a period of self-isolation in Italy and will hope to return to fitness for Inter's crunch trip to Juventus on April 3 in Serie A.

The Nerazzurri attacker has scored 14 times in 27 top-flight appearances this season, leading the club's scoring charts after finding the net once every 123 minutes on average.

Martinez, though, has just three goals in his last 11 league games – all of those coming in a hat-trick against Salernitana on March 3.

Indeed, he has been on somewhat of a barren run since the end of December, but he did end a 490-day wait for a Champions League goal with his sumptuous strike against Liverpool earlier this month.

Martinez will be hoping he can rediscover his form when Inter travel to Juve as Simone Inzaghi's side, who have played a game fewer, look to cut Serie A leaders Milan's six-point advantage over them.

Jose Mourinho has challenged Tammy Abraham to build on his performance in the Rome derby after the former Chelsea striker netted twice in a 3-0 win.

Abraham opened the scoring for Roma in the first minute of Sunday's clash with Lazio. That was the fastest goal ever recorded in a Serie A Rome derby.

It also made Abraham only the second English player to score in the match, after Paul Gascoigne, who did so for Lazio back in 1992.

Abraham doubled his tally with a volley in the 22nd minute to take his tally to 15 league goals for the season, with Lorenzo Pellegrini adding a third for Mourinho's team before half-time.

Since the start of 2022, only Robert Lewandowski (12) has netted more goals in the big five European leagues than Abraham (nine), but despite the 24-year-old's sparkling form, Mourinho remains typically hard to please.

"Great performance," Mourinho told DAZN. "Today was really special because it seemed that everything we had planned was put on the field, Lazio in the second half tried to play with pride but we never lost control.

"No doubt, the boys deserved the victory.

"When you say Abraham is fantastic I disagree, he can do even more. I demand a lot of him because I know his potential, I'm not talking about goals but he must play every game with this attitude."

 

With Roma in such control before the break, their supporters in the Curva Sud began chanting "ole" at every pass, though Mourinho was visibly frustrated by this.

There was a curious moment just before half-time when Mourinho was furious with the Roma ultras in the Curva Sud, demanding they stop making mocking ‘ole’ chants at every pass.

"I don't like 'ole' things, I don't like how they are interpreted by the players on the pitch. You always need respect for your opponent," Mourinho explained.

Roma's win lifted them to fifth in Serie A, putting them in prime position to secure a Europa League place. Lazio, meanwhile, are two points behind in seventh.

Maurizio Sarri was furious with his side's reaction to conceding after 56 seconds.

"The goal immediately cut our legs and we didn't have the strength to react," he told DAZN. "We immediately lowered our heads and I'm sorry we lost a derby like this, I know how much the fans care.

"We got nervous right away, making mistakes. We immediately lost our minds, we weren't lucid because there would have been time to straighten it."

Massimiliano Allegri is unsure whether Paulo Dybala will remain at Juventus beyond the end of this season after he scored in a 2-0 win over Salernitana.

Dybala's fifth-minute strike beat Luigi Sepe at his near post to set the Bianconeri on their way to a routine win, extending their unbeaten run to 16 Serie A games and keeping them within seven points of leaders Milan.

He has now scored eight league goals for Juventus this term, more than any other player (Alvaro Morata also has eight), but the 28-year-old has recently been linked with a move away from Turin.

The Argentine's contract with Juventus is set to expire at the end of the season, and he was reported to have clashed with Allegri over the Bianconeri's training schedule earlier this week.

Speaking after Dybala starred against Serie A's bottom club, the Bianconeri boss was unsure whether he would remain at the club.

"I don't know if he will be a Juventus player or not," Allegri told DAZN. "That's why there is the club, with which I am absolutely in line. 

"It is not just Paulo who is about to expire his contract, there are also [Juan] Cuadrado, [Federico] Bernardeschi, [Mattia] De Sciglio. 

"On my part and on the part of the team, there is only the will to do well now. I give evaluations of the players, but then there are also contracts and many other things to see."

Despite being unsure as to where the forward's future lay, Allegri was adamant that the pair have maintained a positive relationship.

"The relationship with Dybala and all the other players is good," the Bianconeri coach added.

"There are disagreements, exchanges of opinions, and I am quite direct in things. The players have to perform on the pitch, and they have to know that they have my respect, regardless. 

"Paulo arrived as a child from Palermo, then he grew up and became a great player."

Dybala was joined on the scoresheet by Dusan Vlahovic after 28 minutes.

The Serbia international's 21st Serie A goal of the campaign put him level with Adem Ljajic as the second-highest goalscorer from his nation in Italian top-flight history; his tally of 48 putting him just three behind Dejan Stankovic (51).

Allegri was keen to emphasise the importance of Vlahovic at the spearhead of his attack, but said the league's leading marksman still had room to improve. 

"He played a good game," Allegri said of the 22-year-old. "He's an important point of reference, then he comes back and covers. 

"Like everyone, I talk to him often, he needs to improve a lot on the cleanliness of the game. He knows this, and we are working on it."

Juventus have taken 35 points from their last 15 league games to give themselves an outside shot of the Serie A title, having taken just 24 points from their first 15 this season.

Tammy Abraham netted the fastest goal ever recorded in a Serie A Rome derby and became just the second Englishman to score in the match, after Paul Gascoigne.

England international Abraham bundled the ball in from barely a yard after 56 seconds of Sunday's clash to put Roma 1-0 up on Lazio.

He could hardly miss as Lorenzo Pellegrini's corner from the left swung in and hit the crossbar, with the ball bouncing down for Abraham to poach from close range for Jose Mourinho's team.

Abraham follows in the footsteps of fellow English export Gascoigne, who netted for Lazio in the fixture in November 1992.

It got even better on Sunday for the 24-year-old when he volleyed a second from Rick Karsdorp's cross to give Roma a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute, boosting his tally to 15 league goals this season. 

Juventus responded to their shock Champions League defeat to Villarreal by beating Salernitana 2-0, as forwards Paulo Dybala and Dusan Vlahovic starred in Turin.

Dybala's early strike set the tone for a routine victory, and Vlahovic doubled the lead after twice being denied by visiting goalkeeper Luigi Sepe.

The home defence was untroubled during a quiet second half, with Juve's win meaning they are unbeaten in their past 33 Serie A outings against teams starting the game in the bottom three.

Massimiliano Allegri's team also extended their unbeaten league run to 16 games, remaining in the hunt for a 10th Scudetto in 11 years. 

Dybala required just five minutes to open the scoring, latching onto Vlahovic's pass in the area before rifling a left-footed shot past Sepe at his near post.

The Argentine should have doubled his tally on 13 minutes, chipping over the bar when through on goal, before Vlahovic was denied by a superb Sepe save after Dybala's unselfish cut-back.

Sepe made another excellent save just moments later, clawing Vlahovic's goal-bound flick away from the bottom-right corner, but the Serbia star did net on 28 minutes when he headed home Mattia De Sciglio's cross from inside the six-yard box.

The Bianconeri did not concede a single shot on target during a dominant first-half display and went close to a third on the hour when Sepe almost spilled Matthijs de Ligt's volley to Vlahovic.

Lively substitute Simone Verdi drew Wojciech Szczesny's first save with a long-range strike, and the Poland keeper made a superb stop from Federico Bonazzoli's volley, as the hosts continued their fine league form.

What does it mean? Bianconeri maintain excellent Serie A run

As well as providing the perfect tonic to their 3-0 Champions League last-16 second-leg defeat, Juve's win moved them back to within seven points of Serie A leaders Milan and maintained their fantastic run of league form.

The Bianconeri are one of just two teams in the big five European leagues, the other being Sevilla, to be unbeaten in league action since the start of December. Allegri's men have taken 35 points from their past 15 games, having collected just 24 from their first 15 this season.

Fast start for Dybala 

Dybala's early strike set Juventus on their way to a routine win and marked the fifth time that the 28-year-old has opened the scoring in a Serie A match this season.

He has now scored eight league goals for Juventus this term, more than any other player has managed for the Bianconeri.

Vlahovic eyeing Stankovic record after bullying promoted outfit 

Having failed to score in his first 12 Serie A games against promoted sides, Vlahovic's first-half header was his 11th goal in his past nine such contests.

With his 48th strike in the competition, Vlahovic has equalled Adem Ljajic as the second-highest scoring Serbian in Serie A history, with only Dejan Stankovic (51 goals) ahead of him on that list.

What's next?

Title-chasing Juve are back in Serie A action after the international break, hosting Inter in a crucial Derby d'Italia clash over the first weekend of April, when Salernitana host Torino.

Simone Inzaghi acknowledged Inter's first-half performance against Fiorentina was "insufficient" as he revealed how the defending Serie A champions' stuttering form was weighing on them.

Inter have now won just twice in nine league matches after they were held 1-1 at home to Fiorentina on Saturday.

Lucas Torreira had the Nerazzurri staring at a potential third defeat in four league games at San Siro, before Denzel Dumfries nodded in an equaliser.

That was only enough to rescue a point, though, and Inter have now drawn five of their past nine matches – as many as in their previous 27 in the competition.

According to head coach Inzaghi, the damage was done before the break, when Fiorentina outshot their hosts 11-6.

"We didn't take the right approach," he told DAZN. "I'm not without fault and I'm the first to take responsibility for what happens.

"The guys did everything they could in the second half, but we weren't very good technically and we had to do better.

"The first half was insufficient, because a team like ours has to do more. In the second half, we did better and we created more chances after the goal."

 

The improvement in the second period was limited, given Fiorentina's six shots after the break were worth 1.2 expected goals to the 0.8 xG from Inter's seven attempts.

But Inzaghi suggested any issues in the closing stages were more due to the psychological impact of their poor recent results.

"It's normal that this is a bad moment of form for us," he said. "And after a while, the fact that we've taken just seven points from our last seven matches began to weigh on us.

"I am absolutely not afraid, but the team feels more responsibility.

"In November, December and early January, we were perfect; now, we're experiencing a decline, but we must try to remain calm and keep working."

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli insisted "four teams can still win the Scudetto" after his side moved back to the top of Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Cagliari, which was marred by abuse directed at Mike Maignan.

The Rossoneri dominated for large parts on Saturday, but a lack of clinical finishing left them frustrated until just before the hour.

Ismael Bennacer stepped up with an exquisite volley into the bottom-left corner to edge Milan past Walter Mazzarri's side, who spurned two great opportunities through Joao Pedro and Keita Balde in response.

Victory meant Milan restored their three-point lead over Napoli, who defeated Udinese 2-1 earlier on Saturday, and they are six ahead of defending champions Inter, who have played a game fewer, after they were held by Fiorentina.

Juventus could cut the gap on the leaders to seven when they host Salernitana on Sunday, and Pioli believes the Scudetto race is far from over with eight games remaining for his side.

"Every game is an important crossroads now. I liked the team, even when we didn't score in the first half, as we played with quality and intensity," Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.

"Cagliari caused us problems, but that's inevitable when you have two teams with such strong motivation."

Milan's triumph was their third straight win by a 1-0 scoreline and, while delighted with the result, Pioli would look to see his team be more ruthless in front of goal.

"We would like to score more and went close again several times today, but the important thing is to win," he added.

"We're doing great things, but we also know there are four sides that could still win the Scudetto. There's no point looking too far ahead, there's a long way to go and we need to concentrate only on our own path."

Milan's win was tainted, however. There was a commotion between the players after the final whistle, and Pioli confirmed that goalkeeper Mike Maignan had made claims he was racially abused by some Cagliari fans.

"Mike told me there was racist abuse from behind the goal," Pioli responded when asked about the scenes at full-time.

"It's always sad when these things happen, nobody deserves that."

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