Romelu Lukaku Reveals Why He’s Enjoying Playing Under Antonio Conte After 2-0 AC Milan Victory

​Romelu Lukaku was effusive in his praise of Antonio Conte’s motivational skills after the Italian guided ​Inter to a 2-0 win over city rivals Milan and their fourth successive league victory on Saturday.

The Belgian has been in fine form so far this season, notching three goals in his opening four ​Serie A games – including the second in the weekend’s derby success. ​Lukaku is thriving at Inter and it appears Conte’s approach could be perfectly suited to the striker’s temperament

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When asked by Dazn about his relationship with Conte, as reported by the ​club’s official website, he was quick to highlight his joy at playing under a manager who can get the best out of him in the prime of his career.

“My relationship with Conte? He’s a really good coach because he’s someone who helps players to develop a lot.” 

The Belgian has often been diplomatic when talking about his former managers and while this doesn’t sound like a veiled message for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Lukaku’s comments do give the impression that his career was stagnating under the Norwegian.

He added: “At 26 years old, I needed and wanted a coach like this, one who motivates me every day. I’m really happy to be here and to be wearing this shirt.”

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The feeling appears to be mutual and, in typically Conte fashion, the former Chelsea and Italy coach is already talking about taking Lukaku’s performance to the next level.

Speaking to Dazn after the game, as reported by ​Goal, Conte remarked: “If we work with him properly, he can become extremely important. He can give even more and I told him that too.”

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AC Milan 0-2 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Nerazzurri Steam to Derby della Madonnina Success

Antonio Conte tasted victory in his first Milan derby, as Inter ran out 2-0 winners in a pulsating battle between the city rivals. 

A fast-paced first 45 minutes saw Inter have the better of the chances, but Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made three excellent saves to keep I Nerazzurri at bay. Conte’s side took a deserved lead early in the second half, Marcelo Brozovic’s deflected effort squirming into the bottom corner of the Milan net. 

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Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku sealed the victory for the away side on 78 minutes with a lovely glancing header beyond a helpless Donnarumma, and condemned Giampaolo’s side to their second defeat of the season.


AC Milan 

Key Talking Point

There was plenty of anticipation and excitement over the arrival of new Milan manager Marco Giampaolo, but that positivity has quickly turned into cynicism and impatience. 

Despite holding onto their star players, and recruiting some high profile attacking talent such as Rafael Leao, Giampaolo seems unable to get a tune out of his side. 

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​Milan looked toothless throughout the derby, and it was difficult to see where the goals would come from. I Rossoneri have made a sluggish start to the new campaign, and have even played out entire halves without managing a single shot on target. 

If Giampaolo is to imprint his style on this team, he’ll need results first to buy himself the time to do so. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: G Donnarumma (8); Conti (6), Musacchio (6), Romagnoli (7), Rodriguez (5); Kessie (6), Biglia (6), Calhanoglu (5); Suso (5), Piatek (5), Leao (6)

Substitutes: Paqueta (6), Hernandez (6), Rebic (N/A)


STAR MAN – Gianluigi Donnarumma was a very busy man during this breathless Milan derby, and the young goalkeeper rose to the challenge brilliantly. The 20-year-old made a string of superb first-half saves, keeping Inter at bay when goals seemed inevitable. 


The Italian international prevented ​Lukaku with a low stop, then pulled out two incredible stretching saves when it seemed easier for the Inter forwards to score. He was eventually beaten in the second half, but could do little about either goal. 

A performance to be proud of from Donnarumma.


Inter 

Key Talking Point

Inter dominated the derby from start to finish, but Conte’s men were struggling to make their breakthrough against a stubborn Milan. The decisive goal did come early in the second half, but their joy was almost snatched away from them by the assistant referee. 

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Brozovic’s shot took a huge deflection on its way to goal, and poacher Lautaro Martinez waved a leg in the ball’s direction as it rolled across the six-yard box. It nestled in the back of the net, but the assistant referee decided that Martinez’s attempted interference was enough to distract a stricken Donnarumma and disallowed the goal. 

Conte and the whole Inter side were up in arms, and after reviewing the images, the referee agreed with the away side and overruled his assistant’s decision. 

VAR does have its uses after all… 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (7); Godin (9*), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (7); D’Ambrosio (7), Barella (6), Brozovic (8), Sensi (7), Asamoah (7); Lautaro (6), Lukaku (7)

Substitutes: Vecino (7), Politano (7), Candreva (N/A)


STAR MAN – What a shrewd signing this man is proving to be. It never seemed in doubt, but Diego Godin has brought to Inter the experience and winning mentality that made the Uruguayan such a success in Madrid for all those years. 

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Godin marshalled the defence expertly and despite marking the pacy Leao, the ​ex-Atletico Madrid centre-back relied on his defensive awareness and positioning to nullify any attacking threat from the Milan left-hand side. 

Conte is desperate for instant domestic success at his new club, and in Godin, the Italian boss has the perfect soldier to follow his orders on the pitch. 


Looking Ahead 

Giampaolo will be disappointed by the lack of cutting edge his side showed during this dramatic derby, and the ex-Sampdoria boss will be hoping for three points when Milan travel to Torino on Thursday evening. 

Conte’s side were excellent during Saturday’s derby, and he’ll be hoping Inter are equally as impressive when they host fellow Champions League hopefuls Lazio on Wednesday night. 

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8 of the Best Serie A Players You May Not Have Heard of

Cristiano Ronaldo. Kalidou Koulibaly. Diego Godin. Serie A is back baby! 

The Italian top-flight has come back swinging, bringing some of the most exciting and talented prospects in Europe to the shores of Italia. We all know who are the top dogs in every division, but there are always some dark horses to keep your eye on. 

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Some go unnoticed in smaller teams. Others are just breaking into their side, ready to burst onto the European scene. And then there are those who have simply flown under the radar of Twitter and GIFs for years on end. 

Don’t get me wrong, Juventus and Napoli are great to watch, but look a little bit further down the table and you might find some absolute ballers you didn’t even know existed. 

Like these guys below.


 Andrea Pinamonti


This kid has a bright future ahead of him. Andrea Pinamonti is an exciting product of the Inter academy, and he is cutting his teeth at Genoa this season following his loan spell at Frosinone last year.

Pinamonti was unable to prevent I Canarini from an inevitable return to Serie B, but the youngster’s performances stood head and shoulders above his teammates during a miserable campaign. 

Full of pace, trickery and a nose that can sniff out a chance anywhere on the pitch, the Italy Under-21 international is one of the hottest young talents in Serie A right now. 

One to watch.


Alessio Cragno 

Alessio Cragno

Cagliari are in safe hands for the foreseeable future, as I Rossoblu possess one of the best young shot-stoppers in the league. Cragno starred in Sardinia last year, putting in a string of top performances and gaining a call-up to the senior national team in September 2018.

Cragno’s season has suffered a false-start, however, as the 25-year-old is recovering from a shoulder injury which he picked up during pre-season. Robin Olsen is currently occupying the number one spot, but Cragno will expect to regain his place when the time comes. 

Another big season ahead for the Cagliari Cat. 


Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali

Brescia may be newly-promoted to the Italian top-flight, but Sandro Tonali already looks part of the Serie A furniture. 

The 19-year-old is strikingly similar in appearance to Italy legend Andrea Pirlo, and on the pitch there are some distinct parallels with the World Cup winner too. The Brescia boy’s passing and calmness on the ball is remarkable for someone with so little experience, but he also gets about the pitch with much more intensity than his role model.

He’s a box-to-box combative midfielder, with an elegance and grace to his play which is hard to come by in the modern game. 

Tonali has stayed at Brescia to help Le Rondinelle ensure Serie A status next season, but with Europe’s elite watching his every move, it’s unlikely he’ll still be there in 12 months time. 


Francesco Caputo

Francesco Caputo

Francesco Caputo scores goals. Pass it on.

Until last season, Caputo was a couple of years away from being known as a ‘nearly man’, plying his trade in the lower leagues of Italian football, but never quite having the quality to be a success in the top flight.

In 2017/18, the Italian forward scored 26 goals in 41 matches to help Empoli gain promotion to Serie A, and the 32-year-old bagged another 16 the following season, as his side attempted to escape the drop. 

Unfortunately, Caputo and Empoli were unable to avoid relegation, but their top scorer secured a deserved move to Sassuolo, where he has already opened his account for the coming season. The Italian Teemu Pukki is on course for another great year amongst Serie A’s elite. 


Nikola Milenkovic

Nikola Milenkovic’s time at Fiorentina has coincided with a very tough period in the Viola’s history. The death of leader and captain Davide Astori in 2018 shook the club to its very core, but amongst all the pain and suffering, there is hope in Florence.

Milenkovic is proving to be one of the most consistent and capable centre-backs in Serie A, and despite Fiorentina’s wretched run of form in 2019, the Serbian defender remains a beacon of hope for Vincenzo Montella’s side. 

Fiorentina’s fortunes will undoubtedly improve, and with that Milenkovic will flourish into the player he has threatened to become for the last couple of years. 


Lorenzo Pellegrini

All the talk at Roma is around a young trequartista called Nicolo Zaniolo, but the fact is the young starlet has been pushed out to the right-wing to accommodate this baller.

Lorenzo Pellegrini has flattered to deceive during his second spell at Roma, but the 23-year-old is finally coming into his own under new manager Paulo Fonseca. Pellegrini bagged a hat-trick of assists against Sassuolo in Roma’s most recent domestic game, and demonstrated an eye for a pass which a certain Francesco Totti would be proud of.

Born and bred in Rome, we may be witnessing the coming of age of the new heir to the Stadio Olympico throne.


Stefano Sensi

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Okay, maybe you’ve heard of this guy, but you’re gonna hear a whole lot more about him in the future – trust me. Stefano Sensi was a standout performer in the Sassuolo midfield last season, and earned himself a move to Italian giants Inter for the 2019/20 campaign.

His energy and box-to-box style makes him a force to be reckoned with in the centre of the park, and Sensi’s ability to pick a shrewd pass and keep possession makes him invaluable to his side.

Plenty to come from this rising star of Italian football. 


Josip Ilicic

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Whack out YouTube guys and girls, and strap yourselves in. This man is magic. It’s not often you come across a 6’2″ trequartista with the touch and balance of an angel, but Josip Ilicic has all of that and more.

On his day, Ilicic is the most talented and destructive force outside of the top two or three Serie A sides, but therein lies the problem. The 31-year-old can be incredibly frustrating at times, flitting in and out of games without any real impact.

But when the Slovenian attacker is on song, the world dances to his tune. Ilicic has got everything in his locker: an array of inconceivable passes, tricky dribbling and a wand of a left foot, which can win a game in the blink of an eye for Atalanta. 

A mercurial talent, watch him whilst you have the chance. 

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Picking a Classic Inter & AC Milan Combined XI Ahead of Derby della Madonnina

Inter and AC Milan will meet at San Siro on Saturday evening for the first Derby della Madonnina of the 2019/20 season in what promises to be a crunch campaign for both clubs.

Looking back over the last 30 years and the legends to have graced either set of colours, here’s a classic Inter and Milan combined XI…


Goalkeeper & Defender​s

Paolo Maldini of AC Milan

Sebastiano Rossi (GK) – Rossi joined Milan in 1990 and was a mainstay of the side that dominated Italian football for the first half of the decade, ultimately winning five Serie A titles and claiming the Champions League trophy in 1994 after a famous final win over Barcelona.

Javier Zanetti (RB) – In an Inter career spanning 19 years from 1995 to 2014, Zanetti played a club record 858 games for the Nerazzurri. His trophy haul during that time tallied 16 and included the UEFA Cup in 1998 and the Champions League in 2010, 12 years apart.

Giuseppe Bergomi (CB) – It is only because of Zanetti that Bergomi no longer holds Inter’s all-time appearance record after 756 games from 1980 to 1999. His greatest achievement was winning the 1982 World Cup with Italy, but he also landed three European trophies with Inter.

Franco Baresi (CB) – By the time the 1990s came around, Milan legend Baresi was entering his twilight years after starring since the late 1970s. He retired in 1997 and his 719 appearances was a club record until 2003. Only one other in Rossoneri history has played more games.

Paolo Maldini (LB) – Known as a world class centre-back and world class left-back, Maldini is arguably the greatest defender of all time. His quality is the stuff of legend and his longevity ensured that he is among the decorated players in history, winning five European Cups.


Midfielders

Ruud Gullitt

Wesley Sneijder (CM) – Sneijder has only recently announced his retirement from football and in time will come to be remembered as a true legend after being among the very best players in the world when Inter won a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble in 2010.

Ruud Gullit (CM) – Gullit enjoyed the most successful years of his illustrious career during his time at Milan. Initially a prolific forward back home in the Netherlands, he dropped deeper as he got older and was able to influence games in different ways.

Kaka (AM) – A freak accident almost halted Kaka before his career had really begun. Not only did he go on to enjoy a lengthy career, he is among the greatest players of the last 30 years. He was the last player before the Ronaldo/Messi era to win the Ballon d’Or in 2007.


Forwards

Ronaldo,Luca Marchegiani

Andriy Shevchenko (ST) – Shevchenko won the Ballon d’Or as a Milan player in 2004 and was one of the most feared forwards in Europe for much of the late 1990s and early 2000s. His reputation was smeared by his spell at Chelsea, but it is important not to forget his real legacy.

Marco van Basten (ST) – Although injury forced him to retire in 1995 and he didn’t play after 1993, Van Basten was still an incredible goalscorer in the early 1990s. The Dutch icon won all three of his Ballon d’Or awards as a Milan player, the last in 1992.

Ronaldo (ST) – Inter paid a world record fee to sign Ronaldo in 1997, with the Brazilian still not even 21 years of age at the time. He was truly frightening at his peak and it is arguably only injury that prevented him from being the best ever. A short Milan spell came in 2006.


Honourable Mentions

Countless modern legends have played for Milan and Inter in the last 30 years alone, a handful of those have even played for both clubs – that includes Roberto Baggio, Clarence Seedorf and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Frank Rijkaard, Filippo Inzaghi, Cafu, Marco Materazzi, Ivan Zamorano, Samuel Eto’o and Julio Cesar are just some of the other many icons to have played in the city.


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Ranking All 8 of Nike’s New Third Kits Featuring the Futura Logo

​After a few years of playing it safe and sticking to template designs, Nike have pulled some incredible kit concepts out of the bag this season, most notably with clubs’ third kits.

Featuring the ‘Futura’ logo of the 1990s, Nike have really gone to work to ensure some incredible memories will be made in some incredible kits. No doubt that some of these strips will be turning up in ‘classic football shirt’ listicles long into the future.

So which one is the best of this beautiful bunch? Here’s eight Nike kits featuring the Futura logo this season, ranked in order of brilliance.


8. Galatasaray


Listen, this is just simply the worst of Nike’s signature collection this season and there’s no two ways about it. The grey isn’t a striking silver, the stripes aren’t aligned, and overall, it’s particularly bland for a club as bold as Galatasaray. 

Supporters will much rather be drawn to the red and amber stripes of their home strip.


7. Atletico Madrid


We’ll come to some cracking sky blue designs later in this list, but unfortunately for ​Atletico Madrid, they’ve been lumped with what looks like a rejected version of Manchester City’s home kit. 

The pattern doesn’t have any hidden meaning like some counterparts in this list, and the high collar is a big no from this direction. At most, it’s alright.


6. Chelsea​


This article is 80% moaning about the high collars. Seriously, why? A subtle nod to history some may say, but it’s a design aspect that should remain there. 

However, ​Chelsea love a bright colour on their changed strips, and the orange is similar to those worn on their adidas kits at the start of this decade. The ‘CFC’ imprinted over it like tyre tracks is a decent touch as well.


5. Tottenham Hotspur


Fifth place may seem harsh on ​Spurs here, but it’s down to the ones higher in this list being so utterly brilliant. 

Tottenham’s bright blue number will have many of their fans wanting to be in it, reminiscent of many of their more famous changed strips. The pattern gets double points for resembling the outside of their new stadium and spelling out ‘Spurs’.


4. Paris Saint-Germain

It’s smart. It’s so smart. The collar, the complimentary club colours, the ‘PSG’ pattern running diagonally. 

The shame for the French champions is that it will forever be associated with wearing an all-white kit at home to Real Madrid. Not on. Sort it out.


3. FC Barcelona


Look at you, ​Barca, coming in here and looking like a loading screen from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. 

Nike’s take on their Kappa kits of the 1990s is sensational, huge collar included, while the city’s coat of arms pattern completes a dashing look.


2. Internazionale


Any other year and this would be considered the greatest kit in all of sports history. Sadly for ​Inter, they have to settle for our runners-up spot. 

The black is a clean black, the contrasting yellow is the perfect contrasting yellow, and while Inter fans would probably not adorn the red of their city rivals, it completes an iconic club/sponsor look. World class.


1. AS Roma


My goodness. Where to start? The colours? The collar? The historic logos? 

Sponsor aside, this is the perfect football kit. It transcends eras of sportswear seamlessly, let alone continues Roma’s tradition of having awesome shirts. A classic football shirt today. Now that is world class. 

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90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings – Week 5

Rankings boi, 

Rankings boi, 

All about dem Power Rankings, boi, 

If you ain’t reading dem and you flexin’ you’s a hater boi. 

​Ahead of a weekend in which we will: 

– Pray for Chelsea ahead of their whooping at the hands of Liverpool.

– Pray that Tottenham Hotspur don’t play Davinson Sanchez at right back (again). 

– Pray that AS Roma their snazzy af new kit. 

We, while listening to JPEGMAFIA’s album of the year contender ‘All My Heroes Are Cornballs’ and with the help of one of the best tv shows of the decade – Atlanta, season one – we rank the best teams in Europe.

​Praise the mother-f**kin’ lord!


15) AS Roma (New Entry) 

Paulo Fonseca

“Just cause you dressed like a sixth grader don’t make you my manager, man.” 

Paulo Fonseca may dress like a sixth grader who paid his £1 (for charity, of course) to wear his own clothes to school on the final day of term – cream chinos, white shoes combo – but that doesn’t distract from the fantastic job he’s currently doing at AS Roma. 

As 90min’s resident Roma fan ​Max Cooper attests: “Roma were mint against Sassuolo, haven’t seen them perform that well in my whole time here.”

High praise indeed.


14) Red Bull Salzburg (New Entry) 

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“Hey, uh…I would say nice to meet you, but I don’t believe in time as a concept, so…I’ll just say we always met.”

Erling Braut Håland is the four-year-old (roughly) who scored a hat trick in the ​UEFA Champions League this week; leading Red Bull Salzburg to a 6-2 win over Genk.

Erling Braut Håland is the four-year-old (roughly) who has scored 11 goals in seven T-Mobile Bundesliga games this season. 

Erling Braut Håland is the four-year-old (roughly) that is so good that I’ve gone out of my way to find out how to write the ‘å’ on my laptop. 

The kid’s got chops. 


13) Manchester United (Re-Entry) 

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“I just think we need a chance as humans to fail in order to discover what actually works, you know? People don’t think there’s a process to being happy.”

It’s pretty fair to say that a lot has failed at Manchester United since the greatest manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, retired.

David Moyes failed. 

Alexis Sanchez failed. 

Ed Woodward failed. 

BUT, there may be some light at the end of the failure tunnel. ​Manchester United may have discovered something that actually works: Mason Greenwood. 

The future may be brighter than you think at Old Trafford. 


12) Ajax (-) 

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“Earn trying like the rest of us. But when he wants to do something, he does it. On his terms.”

Ajax, despite selling absolutely every footballer to have ever even considered playing in Amsterdam, are still, well, Ajax. 

They still play their football, and they still win games. Gotta put some ​r​especk on that. 


11) Atletico Madrid (Down 5) 

Kieran Trippier

“I go to the store, the movies, and just be thinking to myself, like, ‘Why am I not getting the respect I deserve?'”

Speaking of ​respeck, some should be given to the much derided Kieran Trippier after his performance in the Champions League on Wednesday night. 

To the surprise of everyone who watched him at Tottenham last season, Tripper was really good against Juventus. Really, really, really good. 


10) Manchester City (Down 7) 

Sergio Aguero

“I think if we spent the time we spend thinking about not spending money, spent that time on spending money, then it’d be time well spent.” 

Manchester City: do you know what would’ve been a good idea? 

‘What?’

Signing a centre back during the summer. 

If you had’ve, maybe you wouldn’t have been embarrassed by Norwich City on Saturday evening. 


9) Inter (Down 3) 

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“Yeah, yeah, I think I’m gonna go in the house. I ate them two blunts when the cops came. So tonight…tonight’s gonna be weird.”

The only explanation for Inter’s atrocious (that’s not hyperbole – they were atrocious) performance on Tuesday night is that the whole team ate two blunts each prior to kick off. 

That’s the only explanation for things getting so weird at San Siro.


8) Juventus (Down 4) 

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“You want to manage a rapper but you can’t do business high?”

So ​Juventus, you want to win the UEFA Champions League this season but you can’t hold on to a two-goal lead against Atletico Madrid? 

Really? 

REALLY?! 


7) Barcelona (Re-Entry) 

Anssumane Fati

“You can really do whatever you want.”

Ansu Fati was born in 2002. 

Yes, 2002. 

It’s depressing. 

And what makes it even more depressing is the fact that he’s infinitely better at football than any of us could ever hope to be. 

I’m off to cry for a bit. 


6) Borussia Dortmund (Up 9) 

Lionel Messi,Marco Reus

“You supposed to be so smart, you can’t remember to flush?”

Ok, I’m back, and I’m here to write about Borussia Dortmund, who are up a whopping nine this week following a BIG win over Bayer Leverkusen and a 0-0 draw with Barcelona. 

Impressive, yes, but it could’ve, would’ve, should’ve been a much better week had they been able to finish their dinner against Barca in the Champions League. 


5) Liverpool (Down 4) 

virgil van dijk

“I had a weird dream.”

So I had a really weird dream on Tuesday night. In it, Virgil van Dijk – THE GREATEST DEFENDER IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND – made a mistake and cost Liverpool three points in the UEFA Champions League. 

Weird, right? 


4) RB Leipzig (Up 1) 

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“What? This is a great environment for you!”

Timo Werner is exactly where he should be: 

In the Champions League with RB Leipzig scoring a metric f**tonne of goals. 


3) SSC Napoli (Up 7) 

Dries Mertens,Fernando Llorente

Nothing was about to happen until something happened.”

One second…

…that Virgil van Dijk mistake wasn’t a dream? Napoli actually beat Liverpool 2-0?

Oh. My. God. 


2) Paris Saint-Germain (Up 9) 

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“This is going on Worldstar!”

‘WORLLLLLDDDDSTARRRRR!’

‘WORLLLLLDDDDSTARRRRR!’

That’s what we at DEPR headquarters believe will be shouted over clips of Angel Di Maria’s Champions League masterclass. 

The guy once said to be ‘too ugly’ for Real Madrid came back to haunt Los Blancos by, ironically, being ‘too’ good at football. 


1) Bayern Munich (Up 1) 

Robert Lewandowski

[While polishing his gun] “Man, I ain’t scared of nothing. I got Daddy right here.”

Nine goals in six games this season. 

200 goals for ​Bayern Munich. 

Four consecutive 40+ goals season (set to become five this season). 

Yes, Robert Lewandowski is the best striker in the world, and if you think someone is better than YOU ARE WRONG. 


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Exclusive: Juan Sebastián Veron on the Best Coach He Worked With & Playing With Maradona & Messi

A two-time Scudetto winner, Juan Sebastián Veron was one of the stars of Serie A in his generation, with his performances at Sampdoria, Parma, Lazio and Internazionale lighting up the Italian top flight in the 1990s and 2000s. 

The Argentine was part of the Lazio side that ended their 26-year wait for the Scudetto and won the UEFA Cup with that Parma team that also included Gianluigi Buffon, Hernan Crespo and Lilian Thuram.

Gianluigi Buffon

A box-to-box, engine-room creator and free-kick specialist, Veron played at three World Cups, while has had the rare privilege of playing alongside both Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.

​La Brujita caught up with 90min for part two of an exclusive chat about his distinguished career, his best ever coach and the differences between Messi and Maradona.


You played in both the Premier League and Serie A. What are the major differences between the two leagues?

I arrived in ​Serie A at the best time for that league. It was rich in names and football. [It is] a very difficult championship because it’s a very tactical tournament. The Premier League is the opposite – free from all tactics and is about constantly going up and down the pitch. That makes it much easier on the eyes than the Italian league.


You worked with Sir Alex Ferguson. But who was the best coach you ever had and why?

I didn’t pay much attention to the tactical details. In reality, I played, I paid attention, I knew what was being said – because obviously you are obviously within a group – but I always paid a lot of attention to team management, always. For me, the best at that who I worked with was Sven-Goran Eriksson.

I hardly ever experienced any kind of problems in his teams. And they were groups with strong personalities. He got on with everyone very well and ultimately that made us win, especially at Lazio.

In Serie A, do you think Inter can end Juventus’ reign in Serie A?

The advantage that ​Juve has over others is that they have maintained their identity. Although the Italian league has had many problems, they’ve maintained that identity, that strength of club, of society.

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​Inter has changed hands. Today it seems that it is normalising that situation. As happened to Milan, at Inter a family with very important roots within the club has left. Moratti has gone, like with Berlusconi at Milan.

They are teams that have their history, that are finding, or trying to find, their identity. Juventus obviously kept it. Then they jumped ahead of the rest. Hopefully at some point in the Italian championship, as it was in our time, we will have a title race not only of three teams. During my time it was seven and that makes it much more attractive.

You are rare in that you played with both Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. What are the differences between the two as players?

The era, the speed of football. The personalities, in a good way. Diego marked an era and today Messi is marking his own with different personalities, and different ways to play football.

They are undoubtedly two historic players and we are lucky that they are Argentine.

Argentina's striker Lionel Messi (L) rea

Which one was better?

It is difficult, very complex. Some say Maradona, because he won a World Cup. Those who did not see Maradona and did see Messi are going to tell you Messi. I think those kinds of comparisons with players that have given us so much in football seem very unfair. Such discussions lead to nothing, they seem useless.

Do you think Maradona as a manager can save his new side Gimnasia from relegation?

In football, anything can happen. Undoubtedly [his arrival] generated great enthusiasm. Enthusiasm helps to diffuse many football differences. Then it will depend on the talent of his coaches, his talent and what he can generate on the field. 

Diego Maradona,Juan Sebastian Veron


You can read part one of Juan Sebastián Verón’s exclusive interview with 90min ​here – where he discusses his time in the Premier League with Manchester United, his biggest career regret and the best player he played with.

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5 Way Too Early Predictions About the 2019/20 Champions League After Matchday 1

The UEFA Champions League roared back into life this week for matchday one of the 2019/20 season, bringing goals, drama and plenty of memorable moments.

Here are five way too early predictions about what will happen in the rest of the campaign…


Dinamo Zagreb Won’t Finish Bottom of Their Group

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Perennial Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb have never been able to translate their domestic dominance into any kind of European success and the club has finished bottom of their Champions League group every time they have reached this stage since 1999.

In both 2011/12 and 2016/17, Dinamo lost all six games. In 2012/13, they got a solitary point, while in 2015/16 they actually beat Arsenal, but lost every other game and still finished fourth.

This time, they have made a flying start by thrashing Italian debutants Atalanta 4-0 on matchday one – winger Miroslav Orsic scored a hat-trick – and will hope to build on that; maybe even eventually matching their 1998/99 group stage points tally of eight.

Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk are the other teams in the group.


Inter Will Flop

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Having, at last, returned to the Champions League last season after a six-year absence, then hiring revered coach Antonio Conte and signing Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Diego Godin and rising Italy starlet Nicolo Barella over the summer, and making a flying start to their Serie A campaign, Inter had been billed as a dark horse in Europe’s elite competition in 2019/20.

They were always going to be up against it after being put in a group with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, but the Nerazzurri couldn’t even beat Slavia Prague at home to get three points on the board on matchday one, while the other giants entertained each other.

It took a 92nd minute equaliser from Barella just to salvage one point at San Siro after Peter Olayinka had put Slavia on course for a famous win. Unless Inter are going to seriously pull it out of the bag against Barcelona and Dortmund later, they really needed maximum points.


The Top Scorer Will Be Someone ‘New’

FC Salzburg vs KRC Genk  - Champions League Group E

Either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo has been top scorer in the Champions League every season since 2007. The only player who came close to breaking that dominance was Neymar when he tied as joint top scorer with both on 10 goals back in the 2014/15 campaign.

But neither got on the scoresheet on matchday one. Ronaldo’s Juventus scored twice, but he didn’t net either of them, while Messi was returning from injury and only played half an hour of Barcelona’s 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund.

There is no doubt that will change, but is it not possible to at least think there might be someone else at the top of the pile for the first time in 12 years?

Red Bull Salzburg could be a surprise package this year. The Austrian champions, who ruthlessly tore apart Genk on Tuesday, have good Europa League pedigree and the longer they stay in the more chance there is for the frightening Erling Håland to add to his tally.

There will be others who fancy their chances – Kylian Mbappe, for one, who will be aided by Paris Saint-Germain’s usual habit of scoring prolifically in the group stage. Liverpool pair Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are others to obviously keep an eye on.


One English Club Won’t Make It Out of the Group Stage

Frank Lampard

Despite Premier League dominance of last season’s Champions League, Manchester City were the only English club to begin the new campaign with a win this week.

Liverpool were beaten in Napoli, while Chelsea lost to Valencia, and Tottenham underperformed during a draw with Olympiacos.

One would expect holders Liverpool to turn things around, although their European away record is now six defeats from their last eight games (excluding neutral finals). The Reds struggled to even get through the group last season, relying on a home win against Napoli on matchday six.

Tottenham will also fancy their chances of recovery, not least because they have made something of a habit of European comebacks over the last 12 months.

The English side most in danger of early elimination is Chelsea. Say what you like, but Frank Lampard is a second-year manager with no experience coaching at this level, while the young players who have been driving the team back home are equally untested in European football.

Defeat at home to a Valencia side in disarray at the start of this season was a bad way to start, and they now find themselves in a very open group where Ajax pose an even greater threat.


Atletico Madrid or Juventus Will Reach the Final

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They lost four consecutive finals between from 2014 to 2017 and this year could be the year that either Atletico Madrid or Juventus return to the showpiece event.

The clubs played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Wanda Metropolitano on matchday one and seem to be among the best equipped to gar far as weaker Real Madrid and Barcelona sides struggle to live up to their previous lofty standards.

Paris Saint-Germain, 3-0 victors over Real this week, have hardly given reason in recent years to suggest they can last the distance after often fading when the knockout stages come around, while Bayern Munich have been getting further and further away from European glory.


Champions League matchday two will take place next month on 1/2 October.

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This Weekend’s 7 Must-Watch Games From Around Europe

​Now we’ve all calmed down after yet another exhilarating mid-week of Champions League action, it’s time to put our domestic football hats back on with a myriad of exciting clashes to look forward to.

The Premier League has already sprung a great deal of surprises this season, with more twists and turns expected in this weekend’s clashes. In mainland Europe, Juventus bizarrely are not top of the Serie A table after three games, while over in Germany the same applies for Bayern Munich. La Liga football is following suit, as Barcelona sit outside the top two after four matches for the first time in, what we can assume, has been about 150 years.

With all that in mind, here are a handful of the fixtures you shouldn’t miss this weekend from across the footballing calendar.


Saturday: Leicester vs. Tottenham (Premier League)

Hugo Lloris,Jamie Vardy

Fixtures against the top six are coming thick and fast for ​Leicester, who will be desperate to bounce back from their narrow 1-0 defeat away at Manchester United last weekend.

Tipped as one of the sides to break into the upper echelons of the ​Premier League this season, home clashes with sides such as Tottenham will provide the perfect platform from which the Foxes can justify such suggestions. 

In ​Spurs’ case, traveling to Greece for their recent Champions League outing on Wednesday before a midday kick off on Saturday may present some issues. But, in truth, the real issue lies in their makeshift defence, that seemingly doesn’t possess a right-back. Those fears were compounded against Olympiakos, when they blew a two goal lead to draw their opening group clash.


Saturday: Werder Bremen vs. RB Leipzig (Bundesliga)

Timo Werner

With a young side flourishing under an equally youthful manager, RB Leipzig have set the benchmark for what is required in the ​Bundesliga this season with some fine displays thus far.

Boasting one of Europe’s hottest strikers in Timo Werner up front, a key creator in Emil Forsberg, and the division’s best defence of last season, this Leipzig side are no longer dark horses for the title.

Coming up against Werder Bremen on Saturday, few would back against the visitors taking the spoils, but having lost their two opening matches Die Werderaner have rallied to win their last two and may pose a threat.


Saturday: AC Milan vs. Inter (Serie A)

Matias Vecino

The Derby della Madonnina is back this weekend with both sides led by managers who are in their first seasons at their respective clubs. This San Siro clash is steeped in rich history, with the two clubs having come to blows on nearly 300 occasions, while also famously sharing a stadium.

Antoino Conte’s ​Nerazzurri currently lead the ​Serie A table with three wins from three matches, while the ​Rossoneri sit three points behind them. Everyone loves a derby, and this fixture rests among the best that world football has to offer, as the late kick-off time will only add to the spectacle under the floodlights.

Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku will also be tasting their first Milan derby, and what better way to endear yourself to your new supporters than by getting one over on your arch rivals?


Sunday: Sevilla vs. Real Madrid (La Liga)

Sergio Ramos

Two unbeaten sides in Spain’s top division come to blows on Sunday with the home side looking to retain their place atop of ​La Liga. Three wins and a draw have placed Sevilla ahead of Los Blancos, who themselves sit two points behind Los Hispalenses ahead of this crunch clash.

Sergio Ramos will be pitted against his former side once more, but what makes this far more engrossing is seeing the response of the ​Madrid players after getting thumped 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Zinedine Zidane questioned the intensity levels shown by his side, something which seems almost unfathomable when that boast Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard up front. This one is set up to be a corker.


Sunday: Chelsea vs. Liverpool (Premier League)

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One totally new-look side takes on a mostly identical team to last season, as Frank Lampard’s ​Chelsea play host to Premier League table-toppers ​Liverpool.

It’s a fixture that has blessed the division on many occasions previously, and while not possessing quite the same aura as before, still pits two top six sides against one another. The early season indications are that the Reds are the team to beat this campaign, but a youthful Blues side may very well spring a few surprises given their sprightly exuberance.

Both sides lost their Champions League openers in midweek, but that should only work to heighten the match as a spectacle with the clubs eager to right the wrongs that saw them come unstuck in Europe.


Sunday: PSV Eindhoven vs. Ajax (Eredivisie)

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These two clubs played out an almighty scrap for Dutch superiority last season, going head-to-head in one of the most enthralling Eredivisie title races in recent memory.

Ajax eventually pipped PSV to the post by three points, yet their quest for the crown looks like following a similar pattern once again if their early season form is anything to go by. 

Once again it is a close-knit battle, with both sides level on 13 points after five matches. Boasting such dominance over the sides below them, these clashes can prove pivotal in deciding who reigns supreme in the Netherlands, no matter how early in the season they are.

Expect goals, drama and flares, plenty of flares.


Sunday: Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)

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Despite netting 12 goals and conceding only four, Lyon have somehow managed to only win two of their opening five Ligue 1 matches. 

Hosting the champions, Lyon always welcome Les Parisiens with a hostile atmosphere, which in turn makes for an exciting clash. For Thomas Tuchel’s side, they will be hoping for more of the same they displayed in midweek, after putting the sword to Madrid with a thumping 3-0 win in their Champions League curtain raiser.

Meanwhile, Moussa Dembele currently sits top of the charts in France for goals scored, followed closely by teammate Memphis Depay, meaning the PSG back four will need to be on their toes on Sunday.


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AC Milan vs Inter Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

The first Derby della Madonnina of the year takes place at San Siro on Saturday as Inter and Milan clash in round four of the 2019/20 Serie A season.

Both clubs are under new management, Antonio Conte getting off to a bright start after taking charge of the Nerazzurri in the summer. They were victorious in their first three league games this term, though a stoppage-time Nicolo Barella header was required to grab a point against Slavia Prague on Tuesday night.

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It’s not an ideal start to their ​Champions League campaign, though the situation is worse for their neighbours, who have been banned from entering European competition this year due to a breach of Financial Fair Play regulations

In domestic matters, the ​Rossoneri have won two and lost one, with goals currently at a premium for Marco Giampaolo’s recruits.

Here’s our preview of the ​Milanese meeting.


Where to Watch

When is Kick Off? Saturday 21 September​
What Time is Kick Off? ​19:45 (BST)
Where is it Played? ​San Siro
TV Channel/Live Stream? ​Premier Sports 1
Referee? ​Giuseppe Meazza

Where to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both teams’ official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use, if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves.


Team News

Conte has a full compliment of players to choose from, with summer signings Stefano Sensi and Romelu Lukaku set to make their derby debuts. Fitness issues made Diego Godin wait for a maiden appearance in black and blue, the Uruguayan getting his first start last time out.

Milan counterpart Giampaolo is without two of his first-team squad, one through injury and the other due to suspension.

Marco Giampaolo

A cruciate ligament rupture has kept central-defender Mattia Caldara out of action since May, though he is expected to return in late November.

Right-back Davide Calabaria was dismissed in the dying embers of the victory over Verona. The referee showed him a straight red following a professional foul on opposition frontman Samuel Di Carmine, the 22-year-old now set to sit out the next three games.


Potential Lineups

Milan Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Biglia, Kessie, Calhanoglu; Suso, Paqueta; Piatek.​
Inter ​Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Asamoah; Martinez, Lukaku. 

Head to Head Record

Milan have triumphed over ​Inter in only three of their last 17 encounters, winning just once in their seven most recent match-ups.

The Nerazzurri have taken the victory on 80 occasions throughout history, four more than their rivals, whilst there have also been 67 draws.

When the pair last did battle, it was Inter who stole the spoils as the Rossoneri twice found themselves with a two-goal deficit to make up in March.

Matias Vecino’s close-range blast and a towering header from Stefan de Vrij gave the Nerazzurri a healthy lead which was swiftly halved when Tiemoue Bakayoko glanced in a Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick shortly before the hour.

Lautaro Martinez restored Inter’s advantage from the spot, with Mateo Musacchio’s scrappy goal scant consolation for Milan in what proved to be manager Gennaro Gattuso’s final derby.


Recent Form

Both sides have failed to win just one match this term, the midweek draw with Slavia ending Conte’s faultless start to life in northern Italy.

Inter were electric as the 50-year-old made his San Sir bow versus Lecce in late August, though they had to show grit and determination to secure victories over Cagliari and Udinese in the following two games.

Lukaku and Sensi – bought for a combined €110m over the off-season – have looked like strong additions to the squad, whilst the defence is also showing signs of improvement.

Krzysztof Piatek

Milan, on the other hand, struggle for goals. In their three competitive fixtures this year, they’ve scored just twice, but that isn’t too pressing an issue for now given the solidity of their backline.

Giampaolo’s men certainly seem in a good position to keep Inter’s attack at arm’s length, yet they’re unlikely to pose too much of a threat at the opposite end of the pitch.

Here’s how the rivals fared in their last five matches:

Milan Inter
Feronikeli 0-2 Milan (10/8) ​Valencia 1-1 Inter *(6-7) (10/8)
​​Cesena 0-0 Milan (17/8) ​Inter 4-0 Lecce (26/8)
Udinese 1-0 Milan (25/8) ​Cagliari 1-2 Inter (01/9)
​​Milan 1-0 Brescia (31/8) ​Inter 1-0 Udinese (14/9)
​Verona 0-1 Milan (15/9) ​Inter 1-1 Slavia Prague (17/9)

Prediction

Milan will ensure this is a competitive affair. However, it will probably be a contest dominated by Inter, who possess the necessary tools to break their rivals down over the course of 90 minutes.

Conte has various avenues of attack through which he can punish the Rossoneri, ranging from the reinvigorated Lukaku to the aerially-adept centre-backs in his lineup. There is reason to fear what the Nerazzurri have at their disposal.

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Eventually, they should find a way past Gianluigi Donnarumma and once they do, it’s doubtful Milan are capable of mounting a comeback.

Prediction: Milan 0-2 Inter

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