Barcelona boss Quique Setien has fuelled speculation linking the club with moves for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez by revealing that he would love to work both players in the future.
Neymar has been touted for a return to Camp Nou for several years and the transfer saga shows no sign of subsiding, with the Brazilian keen on pushing through a move at the end of the season.
When asked about the speculation, Setien confirmed that he would relish the opportunity to coach the PSG forward.
“Of course I would like to coach Neymar one day,” he said in an interview with BeIN Sports (via the Daily Mail). “Fortunately I have been able to fulfil one dream of coaching the best player in the world in Leo [Messi]. What is to come next, we will wait and see but I’m sure I would be delighted, how would I not be.”
Martinez has also been tipped to move to Catalunya, with his fine form for Inter seeing him emerge as a possible long-term replacement for 33-year-old Luis Suarez, whose Barcelona contract expires next summer.
When quizzed on the Nerazzurri striker, Setien was similarly complimentary about his talents.
“It’s clear that there are four or five players who play in that position that are extraordinary and that any of them could be at Barcelona. He is a player who would be very good in this team, like other players of his level.”
Of late, Barça have been reported to be interested in a swap deal that would see Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic join the club. Again, Setien was in no mood to quell these again, putting on record that he is a big fan of the Bosnian.
“I’ve always said I like all top players and as they are top players then it follows that they could end up at Barcelona. He is a great player like dozens of others.”
Was he the best striker in the world in 2010? Honestly, it’s tough to argue a case for anyone else.
The fact that his name was nowhere near the Ballon d’Or rankings is one of the great mysteries of the past decade. Or crimes, whichever way you look at it. Me personally, I’m going with crimes.
During the 2009/10 campaign, Didier Drogba was the only player (other than the obvious two) to score more goals than Diego Milito – but to even try and suggest that the Ivorian was a better striker at the time is an argument nobody can win.
Upon moving to Inter at the beginning of that season, Milito had already bagged 158 goals in his 367 career outings, but had just two top flight titles in Argentina to show for his troubles.
Granted the chance to prove his worth at the biggest club he’d ever played for, and under the watchful eye of Jose Mourinho, the season he would go on to produce would be both iconic and, in many ways, perfect.
The Portuguese’s system of counterattacking football with Esteban Cambiasso and Wesley Sneijder feeding Milito was so well drilled it rarely ever faltered. Signing a striker who was both quick in transition and a lethal finisher to fit into this side was key to Mourinho’s plans. And in Milito, he had that man.
Still, the level of performances he would produce on a weekly basis were still far above the capabilities many expected of him. But more crucially, was his timing. Drogba was always praised for his ability in big games, but Milito rewrote the definition of ‘big game player’.
You will struggle to find anyone, in any season, to have such a massive say on all the matches that mattered most. Inter were arguably the best Italian side since Arrigo Sacchi’s late 80s AC Milan team, but they were indebted to the Argentine for so much of that success.
Let’s start with Serie A. Firstly, Milito’s 22 goals and four assists in 35 matches is worth praising, but once again, it’s the timing of his goals and the occasions he scored them that define both his mentality on the pitch, as well as his superiority above all the other strikers in the world at the time.
He netted in both Milan derbies, of course, and it was his touch that secured Inter the league title when he netted the winner against Siena on the final day of the season – claiming the Scudetto ahead of Claudio Ranieri’s AS Roma.
What about the Coppa Italia then? Expecting anything other than a Milito show here would be wholly wrong of you. Naturally, he scored the only goal in the final win over Roma, as well as bagging another in the semi-final. Big game player? We’re not even close yet.
After all, this Inter side won the treble that season. Would they have even come close without their star man up front? The most complete centre forward in world football? Not a chance. Yes, Samuel Eto’o was in the side, but his role in a wider berth was crucial to allowing Milito to flourish as well as get support when needed – which he rarely did.
During the group stages of the Champions League, Inter were on the brink of an early exit. Away at Dynamo Kyiv and trailing with just five minutes left, Milito….yeah, you know what happens next.
The forward bagged the equaliser then set up Sneijder for the winner in the dying seconds. Just another day at the office. Not content with his European goals at this point, he scored in every knockout round following, against CSKA Moscow, Chelsea and Barcelona.
He was untouchable. But simply stating his goals is no just admiration for his ability. In terms of a complete striker, Milito had no chinks in his armour. His hold up play was technically astute and remarkably elegant, his movement both on and off the ball was second to none, and his range of goals knew no bounds. Whether it was volleys, header, left or right, he was a player at the very peak of his powers.
So when the Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabéu came round, even if the Nerazzurri were to lose at the final hurdle, not one person could have begrudged Milito for his involvement building up to that point.
But Milito was to have his ultimate clutch moment. Scoring in cup finals and scoring the goals to clinch league titles wasn’t enough. Against formidable opponents in Bayern Munich, Milito was, once again, a class above.
His two goals were the only two goals of the game, but each were fabulous in their own way. Firstly his cushioned header for Sneijder in the build up to his first goal was flawless, and then his second individual effort demonstrated the kind of footwork rarely ever seen from a centre forward. He tormented the backline all game, and was the worthy winner of the man-of-the-match award.
Barring the obvious pair, there was no better player in the world than Diego Milito that season.
His goals, work rate, tactical sharpness and outstanding knack of turning up for the biggest matches was unmatched. It’s no point even discussing his career after that. He’d completed football. Just a shame Argentina and France Football didn’t see likewise. But, at least he won a shedload of the individual wards.
For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!
It’s May, in case you’d forgotten. We should be gearing up for the Champions League final and Euro 2020 right now, but thanks to COVID-19 all of that has been put on ice.
So, what is a football fan to do in these frustrating times? Simple. Take a trip down memory lane of course. Nostalgia is the perfect tonic to your sporting withdrawal symptoms.
With that in mind, here are some football things for you to enjoy – which all happened on this day throughout history.
1946 – George Best is Born
On this day in 1946, George Best was born. One third of the United Trinity – who helped Manchester United become the first English club to lift the European Cup in 1968 – Best is one of the most fondly remembered players in the club’s history.
The Northern Irishman was an unstoppable dribbler. Equipped with an extensive arsenal of tricks, he feinted and flicked his way around defenders with ease.
Alcoholism would dim his genius during the latter part of his career and life but the memories he created for a generation of United supporters – and football fans in general – will last forever.
1987 – Arturo Vidal is Born
Arturo Vidal has had some career. Very few players can boast about having a Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga’s winners medal and even fewer can say they’ve also experienced similar success with their country as Vidal did at the 2015 Copa América.
Often misrepresented as solely an industrious midfield shuttler, the Chilean is one of the most complete players of his generation, complimenting his incredible work rate with a deceptive eye for goal and ample creativity.
Though his story is now approaching its final act, Vidal will be remembered fondly when he eventually retires. Happy birthday Arturo.
1996 – Juventus Actually Win a Champions League Final
No team in history has a worse record in European finals than Juventus. The Old Lady have been runners up no less than seven times, making their victory in 1996 even sweeter.
It was not the most comfortable win by any means with Marcello Lippi’s side needing penalties to dispatch of Louis van Gaal’s excellent Ajax side.
Juventus – lined up in a 4-3-3 formation including three out and out strikers – took the lead through Fabrizio Ravanelli, before Jari Litmanen scored his ninth Champions League goal of the season to level things up before the break.
The scores remained level for the rest of regulation and extra time with misses by Edgar Davids and Sonny Silooy in the resultant shootout gifting Juventus their second European Cup.
2010 – Inter End 45 Year Wait for European Glory
Today marks a decade since Inter won their first Champions League since 1965, beating fellow finalists Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
After miraculously defeating Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in the semi final, I Nerazzurri dispatched of the Bundesliga champions courtesy of a brace from Diego Milito.
Milito’s first strike was route one at its absolute best with the Argentine nodding down Julio Cesar’s long ball to Goran Pandev who then slipped in his strike partner to fire home. His second on the other hand was a fine solo effort which capped off a man of the match performance.
2011 – A Dramatic Premier League Final Day
Going into the final day of the 2010/2011 Premier League season, two relegation spots still had to be filled with no less than five teams still in danger of the drop.
Wigan and Blackpool were 19th and 18th respectively with Birmingham, Wolves and Blackburn all within touching distance of the dreaded drop zone. It was a ridiculously dramatic culmination to an entertaining season
Ian Holloway’s entertaining Blackpool side had the hardest game of the bunch against champions Manchester United but they very nearly overcame the odds. The Tangerines took a 2-1 lead courtesy of Gary Taylor-Fletcher before a United onslaught condemned them to relegation.
Elsewhere Blackburn squeezed a 3-2 victory against Wolves while Birmingham’s defeat to Tottenham saw them take the final relegation spot. Of course, highlights from the games where screened alongside each other later that evening on Match of the Day for maximum tension.
2016 – Barcelona Win Copa del Rey
Back in 2016, Barcelona needed extra time to defeat Unai Emery’s Sevilla in a fiery Copa del Rey final.
The game witnessed no less than three red cards with Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega and Daniel Carrico all being given their marching orders for various indiscretions.
It would take until the seventh minute of additional for the game’s first goal with Jordi Alba latching onto Lionel Messi’s lofted pass and sneaking the ball past Sergio Rico. Neymar then put the game beyond in second half stoppage time, with Messi again providing the assist.
2016 – England Step Up Euro 2016 Preparations
Four years ago, England took on Turkey in a warm up match for Euro 2016. With captain Wayne Rooney suffering with injury, Harry Kane and man of the moment Jamie Vardy played up front together – with both getting on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win in Manchester.
Kane got the Three Lions off to a perfect start by slotting away Delle Ali’s cute pass with just three minutes played – even though the Spurs man was about a yeard offside.
Hakan Calhanoglu then scored a scrappy equaliser before Vardy scored an either scrappier winner ten minutes from time. What a great result, we’re sure that Euro 2016 went just as well, right? Right?!
The curtain is slowly drawing on the iconic San Siro. Both Inter and AC Milan are making inroads on their way to building a new stadium, one that will see their long-time home almost entirely demolished in the process.
It will bring with it exciting new times for both clubs, but it will also be an emotional farewell to one of world football’s most famous venues.
Over the years Italy’s biggest ground has played host to a vast array of exciting and memorable matches, not always involving both clubs, and sometimes not involving either at all.
So as we near the end of San Siro’s legacy, let’s take a look back on some of the most memorable games played in this prestigious arena.
1949 – Inter 6-5 AC Milan
This is one of the most famous derby clashes between the two sides, as to this day it remains the highest scoring Derby della Madonnina fixture.
I Nerazzurri found themselves in a precarious position in the match as Milan ran riot to lead 4-1, and as underdogs prior to kick off, it seemed unlikely that any sort of comeback would materialise.
What they pulled off was something quite spectacular, though. A rip-roaring fightback saw Inter not only level the match, but claim the three points with an incredible 6-5 win inspired by Amedeo Amadei’s hat trick.
1970 – Feyenoord 2-1 Celtic
At a point in history in which Dutch football was gaining prominence due to the fine national side and Ajax’s great team of the early 70s, it was fellow Dutch alumni who would secure the European Cup with a last-gasp victory over their Scottish opponents.
Tommy Gemmel bagged the opener for Celtic – who were looking to lift the trophy for the second time in three years – only for Rinus Israel to equalise shortly after. Neither side could be separated after 90 minutes, and with three minutes left of extra time it seemed penalties would be the deciding factor.
That was before prolific Swedish striker Ole Kindvall had his say, firing home late in the tie to break Celtic hearts and secure Feyenoord their first and only European Cup.
1989 – Inter 2-1 Napoli
? | ON THIS DAY
?️28.05.1989 Inter-Napoli 2️⃣➖1️⃣
? “Oh we can beat them, forever and ever Then we could be Heroes, Just for one day” ?
?David Bowie pic.twitter.com/qlqNddkEqJ
— Inter (@Inter) May 28, 2019
Heading into this tie with just five rounds of fixtures left to play in the Serie A season, there was only one side left who could challenge Inter for the title: Diego Maradona’s Napoli.
Careca opened the scoring for the hosts with a thunderous 30-yard strike, but Napoli’s joy was cut short after the break when Nicola Berti’s shot took a wicked deflection off of Luca Fusi to nestle into the net and levels matters.
But Giovanni Trapattoni’s side were unstoppable that year. There is a reason that season is know as Inter dei record (Inter of records), because they simply couldn’t stop winning. This was to be their day, and Lothar Matthäus was to be the match winner with a superb 83rd minute free kick.
That goal handed the home side their 13th league title, in one of San Siro’s most memorable clashes.
1989 – AC Milan 5-0 Real Madrid
Despite the magnificence of the Milan side that year, their path to the Champions League semi-finals hadn’t exactly been a smooth one. Sure, they thumped Levski Sofia in the first round, but had to battle their way through Red Star Belgrade and Werder Bremen in the following stages.
So when Madrid were next up it would prove to be their toughest clash of the competition yet. A hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu put them in a great place to reach the final, but the manner in which they did secure victory was spectacular.
Carlo Ancelotti put the hosts ahead on 17 minutes, and then a rampant Rossoneri simply blew Los Blancos away. Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit also struck before the break as Madrid were torn apart, with further goals coming in the second half courtesy of Marco van Basten and Roberto Donadoni.
One of the best nights in Milan’s European history was added to in the final, as they made light work of Steaua București aside with a comfortable 4-0 win.
2001 – Inter 0-6 AC Milan
Another clash that is fondly remembered by one half of San Siro took place after the turn of the century, as I Rossoneri claimed their biggest win over their rivals with an outstanding display.
Neither side was enjoying a successful season, with both tied level on points ahead of kick off and languishing disappointingly in mid-table. The usual, high intensity football was still expected, but never in such a one-sided manner.
Milan claimed an unlikely 6-0 victory aided by Andriy Shevchenko’s brace, in what would become the largest margin of victory ever seen in the derby.
2001 – Bayern Munich 1-1 Valencia
A Champions League final where penalties took centre stage. Bayern were chasing their first European title for 25 years, while Valencia found themselves in back-to-back finals having lost out the year before to Real Madrid.
It was to be heartbreak once more for the Spanish side, as Oliver Kahn proved to be their undoing. Gaizka Mendieta and Stefan Effenberg traded regulation-time penalties to take the game to extra time, but neither side were to break the deadlock and the dreaded shootout was to follow.
Both sides had missed two of their first four spot kicks, but found themselves still level on 4-4 after six taken each. However, Mauricio Pellegrino (former Southampton boss, remember?) was to be denied by Kahn after Thomas Linke netted for Bayern, and the German side claimed their fourth European Cup.
2003 – Inter 1-1 AC Milan
Champions League semi-final and it’s also a derby? What more could you want?
A tense 0-0 draw in the first leg (in which Milan were the ‘home’ team), set up and even more tense second leg, with the ultimate prize of reaching the Champions League final making it all the more engrossing. It was the 255th derby between the two and arguably the most important ever.
Shevchenko had opened the scoring on the cusp of half-time by fending off Ivan Cordoba to clip his shot beyond Francesco Toldo. Christian Abbiati was in inspired form for the visitors, though, fending off everything Inter threw at them until Obafemi Martins struck with seven minutes remaining.
No late winner was to be found for Inter, as Milan celebrated jubilantly at their achievement. The final was mostly forgettable, but Milan secured the trophy with a penalty shootout win over Juventus.
2005 – Inter 0-3 AC Milan
On this day in 2005, AC Milan vs. Inter Milan was abandoned due to flares being thrown onto the pitch.
Goalkeeper Dida was struck by one, while Marco Materazzi and Rui Costa stood side by side in what became an iconic football photo ? pic.twitter.com/rxnnJUaN6J
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 12, 2020
This…this was crazy. When the pair were pitted against each other in the Champions League quarter-finals everyone expected fireworks, just not, well, literally.
Milan had the upper hand with a 2-0 first leg win, and after Shevchenko opened the scoring in the second leg and Esteban Cambiasso had a goal bizarrely disallowed, Inter fans had seen enough. Flares were thrown onto the pitch and missiles came pouring down, with one striking goalkeeper Dida in the head.
The referee halted proceedings before eventually abandoning the match, which resulted in Milan being handed a 3-0 win and Inter being slapped with a large fine and given a four-game European stadium ban. Mad times.
2009 – Inter 4-0 AC Milan
The Nerazzurri have had some fine teams over the years, but Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning side of the 2009/10 season is probably the best of the lot. They were an unstoppable force in every competition they played, with the first derby of the season making that crystal clear.
Milan were simply unable to keep up with the pace an intelligence of their rivals on the day, ending up as 4-0 losers – the damage being done by Thiago Motta, Diego Milito, Maicon and Dejan Stankovic.
Inter secured the league title without much worry, the Coppa Italia followed, and then the season was capped off with a 2-0 victory over Bayern in the Champions League final. Blimey, that was some team.
2010 – Inter 3-1 Barcelona
Remember how I said that this Inter side were really good? Yeah, well if anyone actually needed any more assurances that Mourinho’s men were the real deal, their Champions League semi-final first leg win over Barcelona proved that.
The visitors did go in front, but a majestic Inter performance wasn’t to be prevented as they stormed back to victory with goals from Wesley Sneijder, Diego Milito and Maicon turning the game, and the tie, on its head.
A tactical battle between Pep Guardiola and Mourinho made the clash such an enticing watch, in what was a packed and raucous San Siro. A European classic.
2016 – Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid
This was just the second time in the Champions League’s history that both finalists were from the same city. The last time? When these same two sides went head-to-head in the 2014 final. Well done to the city of Madrid.
Atletico were seeking revenge this time around after the last minute heartbreak they suffered two years prior, although 15 minutes in, it seemed as if their previous tormentor Sergio Ramos would be the villain once more. His close range finish appeared offside, but the goal stood.
Mere seconds into the second half and Atletico were handed a lifeline, as Pepe clumsily felled Fernando Torres in the box to hand Los Rojiblancos a penalty. Antoine Griezmann crashed his spot kick against the bar, and Madrid were spared. They weren’t spared ten minutes from time, though, as Yannick Carrasco would net after a lovely flowing move to cap a pulsating encounter.
Penalties would ultimately decide the match, with the unfortunate guilty party being Atletico defender Juanfran. Madrid had netted all four of their spot kicks leaving the pressure on the Spaniard, but he was denied by the post. So, as expected, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and, well…y’know, he doesn’t miss those.
For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!
21 May is a great day to look back on not only some iconic football matches, but also a selection of culturally significant moments.
And by culturally significant moments we mean the release ofWorld in Motion and Alan Pardew’s dance moves.
So sit back, relax and feast your eyes on an equal serving of football and culture.
1983 – Brighton Almost Make FA Cup History
Brighton suffered relegation from the top flight at the end of the 1982/83 season, but softened the blow by reaching their first ever FA Cup final.
Had the Seagulls beaten Manchester United at Wembley, they would have become the first relegated side to win the FA Cup. And they came so close.
With the score 2-2, in the dying seconds of extra time Brighton’s Gordon Smith was put clean through on goal, but his effort was saved by United keeper Gary Bailey – a moment that still haunts Brighton fans to this day.
Remarkably, the teams met in a replay five days later and Smith redeemed himself by scoring a 95th minute winner. Only joking, this isn’t Jimmy Grimble. United won 4-0 and Brighton are still yet to win the FA Cup.
1990 – World in Motion Released
Arguably the finest football song of all time (sorry Petr Cech) was released on 21 May 1990 ahead of England’s Italia 90 World Cup campaign.
Iconic 80s electro synth-pop band New Order combined with rapping sensation John Barnes to create World in Motion. It is absolutely no coincidence the Three Lions went on to turn in their greatest World Cup showing since 1966.
1997 – Last Two-Legged UEFA Cup Final
Since the competition’s inception in 1971/72, the UEFA Cup final had always been a two-legged affair.
This tradition came to an end in 1997, with Schalke and Inter meeting in the last two-legged final. The sides drew 1-1 at San Siro, with Schalke winning on penalties, before recording a 1-0 victory in the home leg to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
2002 – England Stutter Against South Korea in Pre-World Cup Friendly
In their penultimate friendly before the 2002 World Cup, the Three Lions could only muster a 1-1 draw with co-hosts South Korea.
Michael Owen had given England the lead, only for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side to be pegged back by Park Ji-Sung.
England would go on to reach the World Cup last eight, while South Korea made it all the way to the semi finals. They must have had a better World Cup song than England. No offence, Ant and Dec.
2003 – Celtic Lose Thrilling UEFA Cup Final
Having knocked Liverpool out in the quarter finals, Celtic reached their first European final since 1970, and 80,000 Hoops fans travelled to Seville for the occasion.
The Scottish giants met Porto, coming from behind twice through Henrik Larsson to send the game to extra time.
However, Brazilian striker Derlei struck in the 115th minute to secure a 3-2 victory for Porto.
2005 – Arsenal Beat Manchester United in FA Cup Final
The 2005 FA Cup final marked the end of the intense rivalry between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger; Chelsea had just won the Premier League, Arsenal moved to the Emirates the following season and Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira left that summer. The rivalry hasn’t been quite as bitter and heightened since then.
Despite United’s dominance and Jose Antonio Reyes seeing red in extra time, the two sides played at a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium, sending the FA Cup final to penalties for the first time in the competition’s history.
Paul Scholes was the man to miss from 12 yards for United, leaving Vieira to bury the winning spot kick for the Gunners.
2006 – Watford Beat Leeds in Playoff Final
Leeds’ hiatus from the top flight could have been cut considerably shorter had things gone their way in the 2006 playoff final.
However, Watford recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory thanks to a Jay DeMerit header, a Neill Sullivan own goal and a Darius Henderson penalty.
The defeat had huge ramifications for Leeds, who were relegated from the Championship the following season and dealt a hefty points deduction for their debut League One season, leaving the 2001 Champions League semi finalists in the third tier for three years.
2008 – Manchester United Beat Chelsea in Champions League final
The 2008 Champions League saw an all English final for the first time in the competition’s history, and provided the noughties’ answer to the Gerrard slip.
United had led through a towering Cristiano Ronaldo header, and Frank Lampard levelled the scores on the stroke of half time. Didier Drogba was sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic in extra time, before sheer chaos ensued in the penalty shootout.
Ronaldo missed his spot kick, giving Chelsea captain John Terry the opportunity to win the competition for his boyhood club. Unfortunately, this isn’t Jimmy Grimble; Terry slipped as he struck his penalty and it cannoned off the post. Nicolas Anelka (who really gets off the hook thanks to Terry) missed in sudden death, and United were crowned European champions for the third time.
2011 – Emmanuel Adebayor Hits Real Madrid Hat-Trick
Seeing Emmanuel Adebayor in a Real Madrid shirt was bizarre enough, but the weirdness was cranked up a further few notches when he scored an actual hat-trick for Los Blancos on the final day of 2010/11 season.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker hit a treble as Real recorded an emphatic 8-1 victory over Almeria.
Cristiano Ronaldo also grabbed a brace, taking him to 40 La Liga goals in a single season – a new record for the Spanish top tier.
2016 – Manchester United Win FA Cup Final & Alan Pardew Happens
Some may remember 21 May 2016 as the day Manchester United won their 12th FA Cup, and their first for 12 years. Most people remember it as the day Alan Pardew inflicted his outrageous dance moves on the world.
When Jason Puncheon gave Palace a 78th minute lead, any neutrals backing the underdog swiftly switched allegiances upon seeing Pardew’s celebratory shuffle.
United fought back through Juan Mata, before Jesse Lingard hit the winner in extra time. And Pardew has not danced since.
2016 – Hibs Win Dramatic Scottish Cup Final
Rangers – still in the Championship in 2016 – had famously beaten Celtic in the semi finals to book their place in the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian.
Despite falling behind inside three minutes to an Anthony Stokes strike, the Gers looked on course to secure their first piece of silverware since their 2012 administration thanks to goals from Kenny Miller and Andrew Halliday.
But Stokes equalised ten minutes from time, before David Gray popped up with a 92nd minute winner, crowning Hibs Scottish Cup winners for the first time in 114 years. Cue incredible scenes of Hibs fans booming out Proclaimers anthem Sunshine on Leith in celebration.
Inter are unwilling to pay the £10.75m required to bring Victor Moses to the club permanently, leaving the Chelsea wide man’s future uncertain.
Moses has not featured for Chelsea since September 2018, and was shipped out on loan to Fenerbahçe four months later.
His spell in Turkey was cut short, enabling him to reunite for former manager Antonio Conte at Inter in January. However, Moses has made just three Serie A appearances since his move to Italy.
The 29-year-old’s switch to Inter came with an option to buy at the end of the six month loan spell, but according to the Sun, Inter are not prepared to pay the full £10.75m to make his move permanent.
Due to the financial constraints of the coronavirus outbreak, Inter would only be willing to fork out £6m for the Nigerian international.
Moses has faced injury problems and has struggled to stay fit since moving to Italy, but Conte remains a big fan of the player and could enquire about the possibility of bringing him back on loan for the entirety of next season.
This would take Moses to the end of his Chelsea contract – which runs until 2021 – thus not allowing the club to cash in on their player.
The former Crystal Palace man enjoyed the greatest success of his Chelsea career during Conte’s tenure.
Moses was an integral part of the Italian’s 2016/17 Premier League winning side, coming into his own at wingback in Conte’s favoured 3-4-3 formation.
He featured 40 times in all competitions for Chelsea that season, but has since fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge, and is not in the plans of former teammate Frank Lampard.
Moses was one of three players Inter plucked from the Premier League in the January transfer window, with Ashley Young and Christian Eriksen also moving to San Siro.
The Sun reports that Inter are keen to keep hold of Young, and with his contract up in June, the former Manchester United captain has agreed fresh terms with the club on a new one year deal.
Serie A officials have ruled out the possibility of completing the season via playoffs, insisting that all fixtures can be fulfilled – but the 2019/20 campaign must be completed by 31 August.
Italian football has been put on hold since the beginning of March, after the nation became Europe’s most affected country by the coronavirus. But many believe that calcio can now continue as the number of new cases and deaths drops each day.
Sky Sport Italia reports that the FIGC has voted against playoffs being used to settle the eventual winners, as well as the relegation places in Italy’s top three leagues – while Serie A, B and C must be finished by 20 August, with all football ending no later than ten days after.
This end date is crucial to the football governing body, as their intention is to begin the 2020/21 Serie A campaign on 1 September, according to Football Italia. The Italian football outlet also reports that it is becoming increasingly likely that football from Serie D and below will be cancelled, with no intention of completing the remaining fixtures.
The football landscape is constantly shifting in Italy as they look to find a fair and appropriate way to end the 2019/20 season. But many are aware that there is the unprecedented possibility of Juventus missing out on the title for the first time in nine years, as dark horses Lazio have mounted an incredible attack on their scudetto reign.
Le Aquile currently sit one point behind I Bianconeri in the table, and Serie A viewers are desperate to see this season play out in an authentic and fitting manner – with plenty hoping for an upset in the title race.
So it would appear that calcio is nearing its return – or not, perhaps. The Italian Federation confirmed on Tuesday that no matches will take place before 14 June, leaving only a six-week period to complete the campaign.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani is reportedly the new name on Inter’s radar, as the Italian giants continue their search for a suitable replacement for the sought-after front man Lautaro Martinez.
The Argentine hotshot is Barcelona’s number one target in the summer transfer window, and the Nerazzurri appear resigned to the fact they will lose their talisman after this season.
Antonio Conte and co had turned their attentions to Napoli striker Dries Mertens, and the Milan club was believed to be close to signing the Belgian forward on a free transfer at the end of the campaign.
But having seemed destined to finally leave Naples, a contract agreement between the player and his current club surfaced from nowhere, setting Inter back once again in their hunt for a new forward.
But according to Sky Italia, the Nerazzurri have now settled on PSG star Cavani as their new hypothetical Martinez replacement. Although Inter’s interest is concrete, nothing solid can be signed and sealed until they are sure their own striker’s future.
Martinez’s contract contains a €111m release clause, but Barça are hoping to include some of their own stars in the deal, so as to reduce the lump sum and offload some unwanted players from their wage bill.
Should a deal for the 22-year-old materialise, then Inter will follow through on their intentions to snatch PSG’s all-time highest scorer on a free transfer at the end of the season.
But Inter’s transfer activity may not stop there. Conte is keen to reinforce his midfield options, and despite being linked with a move for Barça star Arturo Vidal for the past two windows, the name Sandro Tonali rings loudest around San Siro.
The Brescia star is the most promising young Italian midfielder in Serie A, and with a host of European giants chasing his signature, his spell with the Lions looks set to end this summer.
And Inter are hot on his heels, and they hope to add the 20-year-old to their already exciting midfield of Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and Christian Eriksen.
Manchester United are prepared to let all players out on loan extend their temporary deals to cover the remainder of the season, which has been delayed by two months due to the coronavirus crisis.
That includes Dean Henderson, Chris Smalling and Alexis Sanchez, but a deal in each case would have to be individually agreed with Sheffield United, Roma and Inter respectively.
Ordinarily loans deal would run until 30 June, but with football on hold since March as a result of coronavirus, the season will extend well into July – assuming it can be finished at all.
Clubs have the opportunity to agree temporary extensions with any of their players who are out of contract on 30 June until midnight on the final day of the season, whenever it may be, and that can also include loan deals as long as all three parties agree.
There have been speculative suggestions of the possibility of underhand tactics when it comes to loans, especially if a parent club refusing to temporarily extend a deal and demanding their player back directly weakens another side.
That could have been the case with Henderson and Sheffield United, who are remarkably competing against United for a potential Champions League place.
But ESPN has reported that the Old Trafford club will let players extend their loans. It is said that Sheffield United are ‘confident’ of being able to keep Henderson for the rest of the season, while the report adds that Roma have already let their wish to keep Smalling be known.
ESPN suggests that the Sanchez situation is more ‘complicated’ because of his relative peripheral role at Inter. That is largely because of an injury that ruled him out for close to three months, although five of his last six Serie A appearances after retuning were from the bench.
Goalkeeper Joel Castro Pereira has no other option but to return to Manchester from his loan at Hearts after the Scottish season was officially abandoned this week.
United will also have to negotiate their own loan extension if they wish to keep Odion Ighalo, whose loan from Shanghai Shenhua is currently scheduled to finish at the end of this month.
The latest reporting on Ighalo’s immediate future suggests talks to extend his loan have stalled because United are at an ‘impasse’ with Shanghai. It is thought the Chinese Super League club want Ighalo back for the delayed start of their 2020 season.
When Ighalo joined United on the final day of the January transfer window, the 2020 CSL campaign had already been delayed indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
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Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter are to organise a charity tournament, named the European Solidarity Cup (2021), with the intention of sending out a message of ‘solidarity’ and ‘brotherhood’ in Europe.
Spain, Germany and Italy have been three of the worst impacted countries by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic, of course, also brought the footballing world to a standstill, although the Bundesliga became the first league to return to action last weekend – with the likes of Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League looking to follow suit, when it is safe to do so.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter are now joining forces as they look to create a sense of ‘brotherhood’ in Europe, while also thanking those on the frontline for their efforts.
Madrid took to their official website to announce the European Solidarity Cup, which will be played in 2021 and involve three matches – one each in Madrid, Munich and Milan.
The official dates will depend on the footballing schedule in 2021, while it will also only take place when fans are able to return to watching games live. Real Madrid will host Inter in Madrid, Inter will take on Bayern in Milan and the German giants will play Los Blancos in Munich. All proceeds from these clashes will go towards the purchase of healthcare resources in Italy and Spain.
Bayern will invite 5,000 nurses, carers and doctors to their game against Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena for new European Solidarity Cup.
— Tom Allnutt (@TomAllnuttAFP) May 19, 2020
Furthermore, in all three games, healthcare staff who continue to help combat the virus will be represented. The intention of this charity tournament is to show the heroes the three clubs’ solidarity, respect and gratitude.
Uniting not just the footballing world, but also the general public, this initiative is an excellent gesture from the three clubs to the health workers – and everyone else – that have risked their lives during the crisis.