Inter Milan moved to fend off reported interest from Chelsea and Manchester United in Mauro Icardi, claiming the Argentinian striker has a “long-term future” at the club.
Interest in Icardi has blossomed recently after the 21-year-old took his Serie A goals tally this season to 14 to sit top of the league scoring charts alongside Juventus marksman Carlos Tevez.
The English media on Sunday republished reports from Italy a day earlier, claiming Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been bombarding Icardi with telephone calls and messages in a bid to lure him to the club. But Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio said Icardi is going nowhere.
Roma coach Rudi Garcia is confident his team can upset defending champions Juventus when the top two sides in Serie A square off at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday.
I Giallorossi are nine points adrift of Juve in the Scudetto race and must win Monday’s game to have a realistic chance of competing for the title. Roma go into the encounter after Thursday’s 2-1 triumph at Feyenoord, a result that allowed them to progress to the UEFA Europa League last 16.
Gervinho scored the winner for Roma on the hour mark as Garcia’s side advanced 3-2 on aggregate.
Genoa’s Italian Serie A scheduled clash with Parma on Sunday has been postponed due to the visitors’ financial problems. It is the second straight weekend i Gialloblu have been unable to compete, having seen last Sunday’s home game against Udinese also called off.
The Italian Football League, the Lega Serie A, issued a statement in which – following a joint request from the Italian Footballers’ Union (AIC) and the Italian Association of Football Coaches (AIAC), and “given the extraordinary nature of the situation” – it agreed to postpone this weekend’s game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. The Ducale club are on the brink of bankruptcy and have not paid their players and staff since the summer.
An all-Serie A clash may not be the most obvious way of calming the waters for Roma but it is Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella who will be left to rue the luck of the balls, having stated beforehand that he hoped to avoid domestic opposition after being knocked out by Juventus last season. Montella told uefa.com:
“Certainly the further you go, the more exciting the games get. Last season we were eliminated after an Italian ‘derby’ so let’s hope we can avoid another Italian team this time around.”
Spanish rivals Sevilla and Villarreal would both have preferred to avoid each other. Villarreal coach Marcelino told his club’s official website:
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Europa League : Fiorentina v Roma and Wolfsburg v Inter
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Ahead of the Champions League tie between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, we compare the performances of the two teams in Europe’s elite competition from the 2014/15 season
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Napoli moved to within three points of second-placed Roma in Italian Serie A thanks to a 2-0 win over Sassuolo on Monday evening. Duvan Zapata and Marek Hamsik scored the goals for Rafael Benitez’s men, who ended the game with only ten men with substitute Dries Mertens shown a red card.
Second-half substitute Mertens was sent off five minutes after taking to the field for a dangerous tackle from behind on Simone Missiroli, but Napoli held on to record their fifth victory in their last six Serie A matches. The win means Napoli can move above Roma next Sunday when they face Torino, before the Giallorossi host Juventus on Monday.
Roma drifted even further behind leaders Juventus in the Italian Serie A title race after being held to a 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona. The Giallorossi needed to respond to Juve’s victory over Atalanta and Francesco Totti put them on the right track with a 26th-minute opener at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
But Bosko Jankovic struck for Hellas seven minutes before the break to earn the hosts a share of the spoils, while leaving Roma nine points off the pace in their quest for the Scudetto. The Giallorossi have drawn six of their last seven games and next week’s meeting with Juve in Rome will be critical to their chances of catching the Turin giants.
Juventus warmed up for their UEFA Champions League last-16 clash against Borussia Dortmund next week with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Atalanta in Turin.
In a Serie A clash moved forward to Friday night, Juventus extended their lead at the top of the table to ten points over idle Roma with the capital side not in action until Sunday when they travel to Verona. The victory also maintained Juventus’ unbeaten run at home this season, and extended their run without a loss in all competitions at the Juventus Stadium to 31.
Roma’s Serie A title hopes come under the spotlight when Rudi Garcia’s men visit struggling Verona on Sunday with a likely 10-point deficit to leaders and champions Juventus.
Juventus, who boast a seven-point lead at the top of Italy’s top flight, host Atalanta on Friday, four days before the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie at home to Borussia Dortmund. Atalanta have won only five games this season so are not expected to hand Juventus a first home reverse this season, but the Turin club’s coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned against complacency.
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Serie A Preview: Juve seek to turn up pressure on second-placed Roma
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Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon hit out at the attitude of the Italian champions following Sunday’s thrilling 2-2 draw with strugglers Cesena.
At the Dino Manuzzi stadium, Juve struggled against a Cesena side that has been fighting to get out of the relegation zone all season.
Chili’s Arturo Vidal even missed a late penalty that could have given Juve a nine-point-lead over second-placed Roma, who drew 0-0 at home to basement side Parma – their fifth draw in six games.
“Maybe Roma’s result changed the outlook a little, but a squad like ours shouldn’t be affected by results elsewhere,” Buffon told Sky Sport.