Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo Italiano insists there is "no problem" with forward Dusan Vlahovic who continues to be the subject of widespread transfer speculation.

The Serbian striker played a full game but did not score as Fiorentina opened their Serie A season with a 3-1 loss at Roma on Sunday.

Vlahovic had been linked with Tottenham, Manchester City and Internazionale during the off-season and remains hot property ahead of the closure of the transfer window at the end of this month.

Fiorentina director Joe Barone publicly claimed prior to the Roma defeat amid mounting speculation that Vlahovic was not for sale and would stay with La Viola in a bid to quell the rumours.

Italiano told reporters after the Roma defeat that there was no issue with Vlahovic.

"There has never been a problem about him," Italiano said. "Now, he must be focused on scoring goals. He had a couple of good chances today.

"We know his worth, he knows he is admired, everybody is helping him to make the difference, he can make it. A motivated Vlahovic can be an added value for us."

Vlahovic is contracted with Fiorentina until 2023 and is understood to be in talks with the club on a new deal.

The 21-year-old Serbian netted 21 goals from 37 appearances for Fiorentina in the 2020-21 Serie A season.

"Every player is important to us, but I repeat what President Rocco Comisso said. Dusan is not for sale and he will stay in Florence," Barone told DAZN. "I’d like these rumours to stop because our season begins today and we must be focused."

Jose Mourinho hailed Tammy Abraham an "important player" after the forward assisted twice in Roma's 3-1 defeat of Fiorentina.

Henrik Mkhitarayan's opener was cancelled out by Nikola Milenkovic but a Jordan Veretout brace secured three points for Mourinho on his return to Serie A.

Abraham benefited from VAR twice for his two assists, first rolling in Mkhitaryan before offloading for Veretout to convert his first.

The former Chelsea forward, who only managed one assist in his final 42 league games with the Blues, was preferred ahead of Eldor Shomurdouv but was replaced with just over 20 minutes left.

"It’s not easy to leave someone on the bench, but [Eldour] Shomurodov can play on the left, he can be a forward with Tammy [Abraham] as well," Mourinho told DAZN post-match.

"At this moment, neither of them are in the same condition as the players who worked in pre-season training from the first day, so I figured to use [Lorenzo] Pellegrini behind.

"He is an important player, with the space that was there I thought it was Abraham's game.

"Shomurodov is very dangerous attacking the space, Tammy is more of a reference point, so even if he wasn’t tired at that stage, I would’ve made the substitution a few minutes later anyway.

"We have many different solutions, but at this moment what I like is the spirit, the defensive organisation is getting there, but Fiorentina made it very, very difficult for us."

With Sunday's victory, Mourinho becomes the fastest manager to reach 50 Serie A wins (77 games) in the three points for a win era (since 1994-95).

The former Manchester United manager is also the fastest to reach such a mark in the Premier League (63 games) and LaLiga (62 games).

Cristiano Ronaldo was at the centre of transfer rumours after failing to make the Juventus starting XI at Udinese – but Massimiliano Allegri insisted there was an innocent explanation.

Ronaldo and drama go hand in hand and the superstar forward came off the bench to snatch what looked to be a stoppage-time winner in his team's opening game of the Serie A season.

A VAR ruling meant the clinical header was ruled out, however, and Juventus had to settle for a 2-2 draw, with two glaring errors from goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny costing them.

Szczesny might have been grateful for the spotlight to be shone on Ronaldo, because it took some of the attention away from his regrettable performance.

The team announcement from Allegri, embarking on his second spell as Juve head coach after last term's failed Andrea Pirlo experiment, sent shudders through football when it emerged Ronaldo was only a substitute.

It was swiftly reported by major Italian news outlets that Ronaldo had requested to be benched and was hoping to secure a move from Juventus before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Allegri said after the game that it had been a decision taken purely with the player's interests, and those of the team, in mind.

"Cristiano is fine, I had talked to him with a view to everyone's conditions at the beginning of the season, also thinking about the game especially at the beginning, and I said to him, 'Come to the bench, in the second half we will need you to come on'," Allegri said.

"He made himself available, he also did well: he also scored a goal, then unfortunately he wasn't good by a centimetre."

Allegri led Juventus to five Serie A titles in his first spell at the club, from 2014 to 2019, and had two years out of the game before accepting an offer to return.

The Scudetto is again the target for Juventus, whose nine-in-a-row title sequence ended last season as rookie coach Pirlo struggled to coax the best out of the team.

Allegri had a win percentage of 70.48 across 271 games in his first spell at Juve, but may find success this time around is harder to come by, judging by how his team started impressively but allowed Udinese to control much of the second half.

Early goals from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado had put Juve in charge, but Szczesny carelessly gave away a penalty after letting a shot squirm from his grasp and then committed a worse error in the 83rd minute that allowed Gerard Deulofeu to fire into an empty net.

Juventus have now conceded eight penalties in Serie A since the beginning of 2021: only Udinese (13) have conceded more in this calendar year in the competition.

"Unexpected things happen: this is football too," Allegri said, quoted on the Juventus official website.

"In the first half we were in control, and we had to control the ball better. Then we didn't know how to manage the unexpected, and this is a lesson that we must take home with us.

"The performance was good, but in football the only thing that counts is winning and knowing how to read the match moments. In the second half, we lost two or three too many balls in midfield, perhaps also due to the heat and the conditions at the beginning of the season."

For the first time since he joined Juventus, Ronaldo has now started two games in a row on the bench: against Udinese and in May against Bologna.

If the substitute trend continues in next Saturday's clash with Empoli, familiar rumours will return. His steadying influence over the closing half-hour of Sunday's game, as a replacement for the misfiring Alvaro Morata (three goal attempts, zero on target), suggests Juventus should do all in their powers to retain him.

Surprise substitute Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a winner by VAR deep into stoppage time as Juventus drew 2-2 at Udinese following a pair of Wojciech Szczesny blunders.

Impressive early strikes from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado looked to have paved the way for a season-opening Serie A success, and a first win of head coach Massimiliano Allegri's second spell in charge of Juventus.

But a mistake by goalkeeper Szczesny was punished from the penalty spot early in the second half, and a desperate clanger in the 83rd minute allowed Gerard Deulofeu to net a dramatic leveller.

In a ripsnorting finish, Udinese almost sneaked a winner, Mato Jajalo firing over in the 90th minute, before Ronaldo headed in a Federico Chiesa cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The celebrations were wild, and a euphoric Ronaldo was booked for removing his shirt, before he was left stunned to see the goal disallowed for offside.

Ronaldo and Dybala have contracts that run to the end of this season, and there seems scant prospect of both staying in Turin. Dybala is seemingly keen to remain, Ronaldo less so, and his omission from the starting XI here sparked fresh speculation about his future. 

Juventus took just two minutes and three seconds to surge ahead, their earliest goal in a season opener during the three-points-for-a-win era, which began in 1994-95. 

Giorgio Chiellini was on the bench so Dybala captained the team, and it was the Argentine forward who produced a special finish to catch the hosts cold. Rodrigo Bentancur slid in a low ball from the right and Dybala cleverly flicked the ball across goal into the left corner. 

Dybala then played a key role in the second Juventus goal, which came in the 23rd minute, looping a long pass to Cuadrado, who took his first touch just a couple of strides outside the Udinese penalty area. The Colombian shuffled skilfully past flummoxed Udinese captain Bram Nuytinck and lashed a low shot into the same corner that Dybala had earlier found. 

Juventus looked practically home and hosed at the break, but conceded a penalty in the 50th minute when Szczesny made a poor parry of Tolgay Arslan's shot before bringing down the Udinese man as he chased down the rebound. 

Former Juve man Roberto Pereyra fired the spot-kick into the right corner, before Alvaro Morata headed against the left post at the other end a couple of minutes later, from a chance he would expect to tuck away. 

Allegri saw the game potentially slipping away and sent on Ronaldo, Chiellini and Dejan Kulusevski on the hour mark, Morata among those to make way. Ronaldo soon teed up Bentancur to smash a shot against the right post, and then came the late drama, Juventus left smarting on day one of the new campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Juventus and his selection as a substitute for Sunday's season opener at Udinese was a mutual decision, according to Pavel Nedved.

Former Juve midfielder Nedved is now a vice-president at the club and was asked about Ronaldo being surprisingly left out of the starting XI in Udine.

Nedved said, according to Sky Sport Italia: "We must not look for sensations where there are none. It was a choice shared with the player.

"At the beginning of the season it is normal that the conditions are not top and the coach tries to field the most competitive team tonight."

Asked whether Ronaldo would remain a Juventus player this season, the last on his contract, Nedved said: "Absolutely yes."

There was nevertheless speculation that Ronaldo had requested to be selected on the bench, with Sky Sport Italia claiming the forward was looking to leave the club before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted this week that last season's Serie A 29-goal top scorer had told him he wanted to stay in Turin, and the Portuguese superstar has condemned what he described as "frivolous" rumours around his future.

 

Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real Madrid or Manchester United, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been credited with interest.

However, any of those clubs would likely have to generate funds before mounting a move for the 36-year-old five-time Ballon d'Or winner, and City are expected to move for Harry Kane rather than Ronaldo.

With Ronaldo watching on from the sidelines, Juventus snatched a third-minute lead at Udinese through Paulo Dybala.

Cristiano Ronaldo was named only as a substitute for Juventus' opening Serie A match against Udinese amid renewed speculation he wants to leave the club.

Speaking ahead of his side's opening league game of 2021-22, head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted Ronaldo had told him he wanted to stay in Turin.

Those comments came after the Portugal star posted to social media to hit out at what he described as "frivolous" rumours around his future.

However, on Sunday, Allegri selected Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata as a strike partnership, with Ronaldo on the bench.

Sky Sport Italia then reported that Ronaldo had requested to be left out of the first XI as he is attempting to secure a transfer before the window closes.

 

Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real Madrid or Manchester United, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been credited with interest.

However, any move would appear problematic. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has already said the 36-year-old will not be returning and Los Blancos are said to be trying to build funds for an attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe.

Selling the France star would likely be the only means for PSG to sign Ronaldo given the huge increase to their wage bill following the free transfer of Lionel Messi, while United must sell before buying again after spending upwards of £105million on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

City, meanwhile, broke the Premier League transfer record by signing Jack Grealish for £100m and are expected to make another push to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham in the next week.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is poised to give Milan a huge early-season lift by roaring back into action.

The extroverted striker is just weeks away from returning to full team training after the knee injury that forced him to miss Sweden's Euro 2020 campaign.

Head coach Stefano Pioli knows a fit Ibrahimovic can transform his team, as was proven when he scored 15 goals in his first 15 Serie A games of last season.

He netted at one goal every 79.47 minutes during that run, and even though his scoring then dried up, the veteran remains a talisman with the Rossoneri.

Asked about Ibrahimovic's condition, Pioli said in a news conference on Sunday: "Physically, he is certainly looking better, even though he's not begun full training with the team and he's forcing things a little bit.

"Next week will be very important for him because he needs to start ball work and that's what he's been missing.

"So we'll see next week whether he's able to actually train with us, and during the international break he might be able to be fit and available.

"I think his role is always the same: Zlatan is a charismatic leader in terms of his character. He's a leader on the pitch as well, he really is the benchmark for everyone.

"He's a significant figure. He's very motivated."

 

Ibrahimovic stands eighth on the list of top scorers across all competitions over the past 10 seasons, among players competing in Europe's top five leagues.

That is all the more impressive given his goals across two seasons with LA Galaxy are not counted in his total of 247 strikes, and Pioli will know Milan carried a unique threat when Ibrahimovic was on hand last term.

They won 66.7 per cent of games where he started (12 of 18) and that dipped slightly to 60 per cent when Ibrahimovic was not in Pioli's XI.

Milan begin their 2021-22 season against Sampdoria on Monday, then face Cagliari next weekend, and those may be the only games Ibrahimovic has to miss, if Pioli's fitness forecast proves accurate.

"He's fit and firing mentally," Pioli said of the player who turns 40 in October.

"He's a player that can still be a matchwinner for the team, for himself. So he's very motivated and can't wait to get back into full training with his team-mates.

"The same goes for me: I can't wait to get him back on the training ground."

Lionel Messi was the topic of plenty of speculation in recent weeks before inking a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

The 34-year-old left Barcelona as a free agent after two decades with the Catalan club, unable to stay despite wanting to continue his career there.

But rumours are swirling already about Messi's next move after PSG, even though he has yet to even make his debut for the Ligue 1 side.

 

TOP STORY - BECKHAM HOLDS MESSI TALKS

Inter Miami owner David Beckham has held talks with Messi about joining the MLS club after his PSG contract expires, reports The Mirror.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder has promised to bring a superstar player to the club, with links to Cristiano Ronaldo in the past.

According to the report, Messi purchased six luxury penthouse apartments in Miami a few weeks ago, adding fuel to the fire.


ROUND-UP

- Manchester City will need to up their bid for Harry Kane to Tottenham by £50million to convince Spurs to sell, reports The Mirror. City have reportedly tabled an improved bid since their £100m offer and are said to be willing to go as high as £120m.

- Newcastle are ready to make a move to sign Everton's Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez, according to fichajes.net.

- Milan are interested in a move for Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva for £45m (€52m) according to Star on Sunday.

- The Sun claims that Southampton are looking to complete a bargain deal for Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Inter boss Simone Inzaghi believes Hakan Calhanoglu "doesn't realise how good he is" after a stunning debut performance against Genoa on Saturday.

After joining from city rivals Milan in the close season, Calhanoglu marked his first appearance for the Nerazzurri with a superb goal and an assist for Milan Skriniar in his side's 4-0 win.  

Those two goal involvements came inside the first 14 minutes – it took him nine games to achieve that at the start of his Milan career.

Arturo Vidal added a third in the second half before former Roma man Edin Dzeko marked his Inter bow with a header in the 87th minute.

Champions Inter have now scored three or more goals in four successive Serie A home matches for the first time since 2011, when did they did it in six games.

Inzaghi was not surprised by his side's dominant display, and the former Lazio boss was particularly pleased with Calhanoglu's contribution.

"I was pretty confident the team would do well, as I've seen them working with enthusiasm and hunger since July 8, eager to learn new concepts," he told DAZN.

"We couldn't have asked for a better start, especially in front of our fans back in the stadium.

"Calhanoglu is a great player, able to unite quality and quantity. He ran so hard for the team as well. Every time I played against him, he caused me problems.

"We were fortunate enough to pick him up and I think he can get stronger, because he doesn't realise how good he is."

 

Inter lost last season's top scorer Romelu Lukaku to Premier League side Chelsea this month and Inzaghi confirmed that the club intend to dip into the transfer market to replace him, despite the arrival of Dzeko.

"Naturally we need to complete the squad, as Romelu Lukaku's departure was unexpected," he added.

"Dzeko has already shown what kind of player he is. Hopefully we'll bring in someone else who can score big goals."

Saturday's win at San Siro means Inter have won each of their last seven Serie A meetings with Genoa by an aggregate score of 25-0, while they are the first side to have scored four or more goals in their first game of the season in three successive campaigns since they did so between 1959 and 1961.

Inter expect Lautaro Martinez to stay at San Siro after he turned down "lucrative offers" from rival clubs, according to club CEO Beppe Marotta.

The Nerazzurri began their Serie A title defence on Saturday with a 4-0 win over Genoa, but there were significant changes to the side that won the Scudetto last season.

New signings Hakan Calhanoglu and Edin Dzeko were among the scorers, with Simone Inzaghi in the dugout for the first time.

Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi all left Inter, and Martinez was also linked with a move away, Tottenham considered potential suitors.

However, the Argentina international – absent against Genoa, having won the Copa America in the off-season – appears certain to remain at Inter.

Marotta, speaking before Saturday's game, revealed Martinez had options elsewhere but preferred to continue with the champions.

"Lautaro is a player who explicitly asked to stay at Inter, despite receiving other lucrative offers," Marotta told DAZN.

"We are proud of that. He wants to prove himself a champion here, and we are very happy that he can continue his growth process at this club."

Martinez scored 17 Serie A goals last season as well as supplying six assists, with a goal involvement every 112 minutes.

That was his most prolific campaign in Serie A, with 20 goals across the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons combined.

The forward will now link up with Dzeko, who marked his Inter bow and 200th Serie A outing with both a goal and an assist.

He and Calhanoglu, who also scored one and made one, became the first Nerazzurri debutants to achieve that feat since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2006.

Hakan Calhanoglu hit a stunning goal on his Inter debut and Edin Dzeko followed suit as new coach Simone Inzaghi was treated by his team to a 4-0 win over Genoa.

After defecting from Milan to join the Rossoneri's city rivals in the close season, Calhanoglu also managed an assist at San Siro, setting up the opener for Milan Skriniar.

This was about as ideal an opening-day outcome as former Lazio boss Inzaghi could have imagined, with his team two goals to the good inside quarter of an hour, making light of the changes that have followed their Scudetto success last season. Arturo Vidal got the third in the second half before Dzeko marked his Inter bow with a classic header in the 87th minute.

Inzaghi's predecessor Antonio Conte quit in May, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi have departed in big-money deals, and as recently as Friday evening the influential technical chief Gabriele Oriali was "relieved" of his duties, but this did not look like a team in crisis.

Veteran striker Dzeko has arrived from Roma, and both he and Calhanoglu starred here, clicking immediately.

Stefano Sensi slotted in just behind targetman Dzeko in a 3-5-1-1 formation, but it was a defender who made the sixth-minute breakthrough. Calhanoglu notched nine assists for Milan in Serie A last season, and his first for the Nerazzurri arrived when his whipped corner from the right was headed powerfully into the left corner of the Genoa goal by Skriniar.

Genoa's marking left a lot to be desired, but there was little they could do to prevent Inter stretching their lead in the 14th minute with a delicious goal from Calhanoglu, who collected a short pass from Dzeko and thrashed a 25-yard shot into the bottom right corner.

Dzeko hit the crossbar with a deflected shot on the turn from Matteo Darmian's cross, and Ivan Perisic was denied a goal by a VAR offside verdict after sprinting through and beating Salvatore Sirigu, who had earlier saved well from Marcelo Brozovic.

Perisic was again marginally offside before he teed up Calhanoglu to rifle into the top left corner after the interval, and that meant another Inter goal did not stand.

They found a third goal in the 74th minute though, substitute Vidal drilling in from close range after Dzeko's shot was parried out. Nicolo Barella teased the ball into Vidal and he converted, with Dzeko later meeting Vidal's delicious delivery and making no mistake. Just like Inter all afternoon.


What does it mean?

This was about as smooth a start as the new regime could have hoped for, the early goals putting paid to any tension after the close-season upheaval. Beating a distinctly limited Genoa side can only tell us so much, with the real tests still to come, but Inter looked slick and the new recruits acquitted themselves admirably.

Dream start for Calhanoglu

The only disappointment for Inter's new playmaker came when his celebrations were short-lived the second time he found the net, due to Perisic straying offside. He came off after 76 outstanding minutes, receiving a big hug from Inzaghi. By half-time, Calhanoglu had chalked up a goal and an assist, among three chances created, an instant Inter hero. He created two further chances before being awarded a rest, and a deserved ovation.

Kallon catches the eye

Sierra Leonean striker Yayah Kallon looks a real prospect for Genoa, and on just his second Serie A appearance he gave Inter's defence cause for concern. Kallon should have buried a chance just before half-time but swept his left-footed shot wide of the right post. He drew a solid save from Samir Handanovic at the start of the second half before being substituted soon after. His talent is raw and he played just six passes in 54 minutes, while having only 20 touches, but the 20-year-old is one to watch.

What's next?

Inter will be back in Serie A action on Friday, when they travel to face Hellas Verona. Genoa have to wait an additional two days for their next game, a home encounter with Napoli.

Jose Mourinho is already finding the nuance in Italian news conferences a mixed blessing after the Roma boss was served a tactical puzzler ahead of the Serie A season opener.

The former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham manager suggested he had been pining for Italy while working in the Premier League last season, due to frustration with the English media.

But when faced with a question about Roma's full-backs struggling to deliver effective crosses in the European clash with Trabzonspor on Thursday, Mourinho initially suggested he did not want to answer.

"I will start with a joke," he told reporters. "In England I always used to say that I missed the press conferences in Italy, because here we talk more about tactics – whereas they only want to talk about controversies.

"Now I'm back in Italy, though, I don't want to talk about tactics because you are too good at it!"

But Mourinho went on to give a full answer to the enquiry, admitting Roma "messed up" several crosses and concluding his team would "try to build up our attacking play so we have a number of different options".

Roma edged their Europa Conference League game 2-1 in Turkey, and on Sunday they begin their Serie A campaign with a home test against Fiorentina.

Tammy Abraham could make his debut in that game, Mourinho confirmed, even though the striker has been unable to train with his new team-mates due to pandemic restrictions on his involvement since arriving from Chelsea.

"Tomorrow he will be in the squad," Mourinho said, as quoted by Roma's official website.

"He has not trained this week with the team, he's been training alone because those are the current rules. But he has played pre-season at Chelsea, he's played in some decent games with them and I think he's physically ready to play.

"It's been a tough week for him, though, with all the travelling and the medical tests and the paperwork that has had to be signed. But he will be with us. We have three forwards: Borja [Mayoral], him, Eldor [Shomurodov]. I am delighted to have them."

Mourinho made a cutting remark ahead of the Trabzonspor game by complimenting the work of the Turkish club's ground staff and suggesting on Instagram that those responsible for the state of Roma's own pitch were on holiday.

Returning to the issue on Saturday, Mourinho said: "In England the climate helps a lot with the quality of the pitches, and that is true in other aspects too – so it is a little difficult to compare England with other places.

"The pitch was not good last week, and I have my doubts about whether it will be great tomorrow – but I have confidence in the professionalism and pride of those whose job it is to work on it.

"For sure, the week after, when Lazio play at home, the pitch will be in even better condition for them.

"So, there should be a bit of pressure applied from everyone, not just from my Instagram – which is a bit of a mean Instagram where I have no filter. I think something, and I just post it. No-one can control me.

"With a little pressure from us all we can make the fields at a better level. When I look at the level of the coaches who are in Serie A and others who are no longer there like Conte, Gattuso and Ranieri, I think we all want quality football and therefore we also need quality pitches."

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says Cristiano Ronaldo has told him he wishes to stay at the club for the 2021-22 season.

Speculation has persisted in recent weeks that the Portugal star is pushing to leave Turin three years after his move from Real Madrid in a deal worth €112million.

A return to the Spanish capital was mooted until coach Carlo Ancelotti shot down the rumour, while possible moves to former club Manchester United, Premier League champions Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have also been suggested.

Ronaldo himself hit out at the media frenzy around his future in a social media post, condemning the coverage as "frivolous" and "disrespectful".

Allegri has now stated the 36-year-old wants to see out the remaining year of his contract at the Allianz Stadium.

"Ronaldo told me he's staying at Juve," Allegri said on Saturday ahead of Juve's Serie A opener against Udinese.

"He's always trained well. I read the rumours in the newspapers. He never told us he wanted to leave.

"Ronaldo is a bonus for us because he guarantees a large number of goals. Of course, we have to work as a team to bring the best out of a single player.

"Ronaldo didn't play the [pre-season] game on Thursday because we had been going through a tough week and I gave him half a day off."

 

Allegri returned to Juve to take over from Andrea Pirlo, having stepped down in 2019 following five hugely successful years with the Bianconeri.

He led Juve to five consecutive Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana, while also reaching two Champions League finals.

The 54-year-old said his past achievements will mean little if he cannot mount a serious challenge to reclaim the Scudetto from Inter.

"I don't have to show anything, I have to work to get results. What happened in my five years stays in the museum," he said.

"Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or but if this year he doesn't have a good year, they'll remember his last year at Juventus. The same goes for [Federico] Chiesa: what he did at the Euros won't count.

"We have to question ourselves every day, otherwise the conditions to win aren't created."

Roma defender Alessandro Florenzi has joined Milan on a season-long loan.

Florenzi becomes Stefano Pioli's latest acquisition in a busy transfer window, with Milan confirming they have an option to sign the full-back on a permanent deal.

The 30-year-old had not featured for Roma since January 2020, spending time on loan at Valencia and then Paris Saint-Germain, where he played 21 times in Ligue 1 last term.

Despite spending the previous season at the Parc des Princes, only Daniel De Rossi (20,370) and Edin Dzeko (19,686) have played more minutes for Roma than Florenzi's 18,925 since his debut in May 2011.

In the same time period, only Radja Nainggolan (285), Lorenzo Pellegrini (296), Dzeko (312), Francesco Totti (366) and Miralem Pjanic (403) have created more chances for Roma than Florenzi, who tallied up 282.

Among defenders in Serie A, Alex Sandro (321) and Aleksandar Kolarov (295) are the only two to have created more than the full-back, who will be back plying his trade in Italy.

A part of Italy's successful Euro 2020 squad, Florenzi also has experience on the international stage, too.

He appeared twice for Roberto Mancini's side as they secured the trophy, including a brief cameo in the final against England at Wembley, to take his total to 45 caps since making his debut in 2012.

Milan get their Serie A campaign underway on Monday when they travel to Sampdoria.

The transfer window is not even closed but attention is already turning to next season.

Kylian Mbappe is into the final year of his Paris Saint-Germain contract, while Erling Haaland's Borussia Dortmund deal has clubs queuing up.

Manchester United are reportedly set to pursue both.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE, HAALAND FUTURE RED DEVILS?

Manchester United have made Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe a target for next season, according to ESPN.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid and Saturday's Marca and Diario AS claim the LaLiga giants are still trying to sign the PSG star before the end of the transfer window.

Liverpool have also previously been linked with Mbappe, but United are keeping tabs on his situation, with the Frenchman out of contract at the end of 2021-22.

French journalist Julien Laurens, meanwhile, also suggests next year could be the perfect time for United to prise Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland has no shortage of suitors, linked with Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich as his release clause comes into force at season's end.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail says City are willing to sell defender Aymeric Laporte for £60million (€69m). The Spain international is reportedly wanted by Juventus and Madrid.

Chelsea remain interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, per The Telegraph. The Blues have also been linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who has also caught the attention of United and Liverpool.

- Diario AS says wantaway Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is eyeing a switch to Madrid, Barca or Bayern.

Real Sociedad are tracking PSG star Pablo Sarabia, according to Le Parisien. Sevilla could also reportedly rival Sociedad for the Spain international.

- Sky Sport Italia reports Juve are set to meet with Paulo Dybala's agent to discuss a new contract.

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