Eriksen: ‘Laudrup and Baggio my idols’

Inter star Christian Eriksen reveals the first football shirt he bought was one of Roberto Baggio. ‘My dad was a big fan.’

Inter released an interview with the former Tottenham star in their match programme.

“My role model has always been Michael Laudrup,” he said.

“Everyone wants to be like him in Denmark because he was the best player. My dad was a big fan of Roberto Baggio. I bought his shirt as soon as possible. It was the first football shirt I’ve ever bought.

“I’ve admired him since I was a child,” he added.

Eriksen is now one of Inter’s regular starters and the turning point for him was a decisive free-kick goal in a Coppa Italia derby clash against Milan.

“It’s always special to score a goal and it’s even better to score in a derby. It was amazing. That free-kick was perfect for me. It was an exceptional moment.”


Lukaku ‘the king’ of Serie A strikers

Romelu Lukaku is the Serie A striker with the most goal involvements: 25 between goals and assists, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Juventus striker is the best scorer in Italy with 20 goals in 21 League games this season.

Lukaku has two fewer than CR7, but has been involved in more goals than the Juventus star.

The Belgian scored 18 goals and provided seven assists so far this season, while Ronaldo adds three assists to his 20 goals. For this reason, La Gazzetta Dello Sport called the Inter star “The King” of Serie A strikers.

Luis Muriel has contributed to 21 Atalanta goals. He found the net 15 times and delivered six assists and is the third Serie A striker with the most goal involvements.

Serie A’s top 10 strikers (stats via La Gazzetta dello Sport)

Romelu Lukaku – 25 (18 goals, 7 assists)

Cristiano Ronaldo – 23 (20 goals, 3 assists)

Luis Muriel – 21 (15 goals, 6 assists)

Lautaro Martinez – 18 (13 goals, 5 assists)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 17 (9 goals, 8 assists)

Ciro Immobile -17 (14 goals, 3 assists)

Andrea Belotti – 16 (11 goals, 5 assists)

Duvan Zapata 15 – (9 goals, 6 assists)

Lorenzo Insigne – 15 (11 goals, 4 assists)

Francesco Captuo – 15 (11 goals, 4 assists)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 15 (14 goals, 1 assist)


All the COVID-19 cases in Serie A

There have been 163 cases of COVID-19 in Serie A, take a look at the impact coronavirus has had on the teams in the Italian top flight.

The total number increased to 163 cases of coronavirus after the latest updates regarding Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur and Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel.

Sky Sport Italia reports the list of players and coaches for each team that has contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Check out the list below, including the false positive tests:

Atalanta: 10

Josip Ilicic (recovered)

Marco Sportiello (recovered)

Pierluigi Gollini (recovered)

Duvan Zapata (recovered)

Gian Piero Gaspeini (recovered)

Marco Carnesecchi (recovered)

Ruslan Malinovskiy (recovered)

Aleksej Miranchuk (recovered)

Robin Gosens (false positive)

Cristiano Romero (false positive)


Benevento: 5

Three unconfirmed players (all recovered)

Bryan Dabo (recovered)

Pasquale Schiattarella (recovered)


Bologna: 3

Sinisa Mihajlovic (recovered)

Aaron Hickey (recovered)

Federico Ravaglia (recovered)


Cagliari: 13

Filip Bradaric (recovered)

Luca Ceppitelli (recovered)

Alberto Cerri (recovered)

Kiril Despodov (recovered)*

Diego Godin (recovered)

Giovanni Simeone (recovered)

Nahitan Nandez (recovered)

Gaston Pereiro (recovered)

Adam Ounas (recovered)**

Ragnar Klavan (recovered)

Simone Aresti (recovered)

Niccolo Cabras (recovered)

Andrea Carboni (recovered)

* currently at Ludogorets

** currently at Crotone


Crotone: 2

Salvatore Molina (recovered)

Denis Dragus (recovered)


Fiorentina: 8

Dusan Vlahovic (recovered)

Patrick Cutrone* (recovered)

German Pezzella (recovered)

Martin Caceres (recovered)

Erick Pulgar (recovered)

Riccardo Sottil (recovered)**

Jose Callejon (recovered)

Cesare Prandelli (false positive)

* currently at Valencia

** currently at Cagliari


Genoa: 18

Mattia Perin (recovered)

Lasse Schone (recovered)*

Federico Marchetti (recovered)

Ivan Radovanovic (recovered)

Luca Pellegrini (recovered)

Davide Zappacosta (recovered)

Filippo Melegoni (recovered)

Lukas Lerager (recovered)

Francesco Cassata (recovered)

Marko Pjaca (recovered)

Davide Biraschi (recovered)

Domenico Criscito (recovered)

Valon Berahmi (recovered)

Petar Brlek (recovered)

Miha Zajc (recovered)

Mattia Destro (recovered)

Darian Males (recovered)

Cristian Zapata (recovered)

* currently at Heerenveen


Inter: 10

Alessandro Bastoni (recovered)

Radja Nainggolan (recovered)*

Milan Skriniar (recovered)

Roberto Gagliardini (recovered)

Ionut Radu (recovered)

Ashley Young (recovered)

Achraf Hakimi (false positive)

Marcelo Brozovic (recovered)

Daniele Padelli (recovered)

Aleksandar Kolarov (recovered)

* currently at Cagliari


Juventus: 9

Daniele Rugani (recovered)*

Blaise Matuidi (recovered)**

Paulo Dybala (recovered)

Cristiano Ronaldo (recovered)

Weston McKennie (recovered)

Juan Cuadrado (recovered)

Matthijs de Ligt (recovered)

Alex Sandro (recovered)

Rodrigo Bentancur (in isolation)

* currently at Cagliari

** currently at Inter Miami


Lazio: 4

Vedat Muriqi (recovered)

Ciro Immobile (recovered)

Luiz Felipe (recovered)

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (recovered)

* In October last year Lazio announced positive cases in the team group, without making the number or names of the players official


Milan: 12

Daniele Maldini (recovered)

Sandro Tonali (recovered)*

Leo Duarte (recovered)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (recovered)

Matteo Gabbia (recovered)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (recovered)

Jens Petter Hauge (recovered)

Stefano Pioli (recovered)

Ante Rebic (recovered)

Hakan Calhanoglu (recovered)

Theo Hernandez (false positive)

* was still at Brescia


Napoli: 7

Andrea Petagna (recovered)

Piotr Zielinski (recovered)

Eljif Elmas (recovered)

Elseid Hysaj (recovered)

Amir Rrahmani (recovered)

Victor Osimhen (recovered)

Fabian Ruiz (recovered)


Parma: 6

Six unconfirmed players


Roma: 14

Antonio Mirante (recovered)

Carles Perez (recovered)

Bruno Peres (recovered)

Justin Kluivert (recovered)*

Amadou Diawara (recovered)

Riccardo Calafiori (recovered)

Lorenzo Pellegrini (recovered)

Edin Dzeko (recovered)

Gianluca Mancini (false positive)

Federico Fazio (recovered)

Davide Santon (recovered)

Marash Kumbulla (recovered)

Nicola Zalewski (recovered)

Nicolo Zaniolo (recovered)

* currently at RB Leipzig


Sampdoria: 8

Manolo Gabbiadini (recovered)

Omar Colley (recovered)

Fabio Depaoli (recovered)*

Bartosz Bereszynski (recovered)

Albin Ekdal (recovered)

Morten Thorsby (recovered)

Antonino La Gumina (recovered)

Keita Balde (recovered)

* currently at Atalanta


Sassuolo: 6

Jeremie Boga (recovered)

Nicolas Schiappacasse (recovered)

Jeremy Toljan (recovered)

Lukas Haraslin (recovered)

Filip Djuricic (recovered)

Federico Ricci (recovered)


Spezia: 9

Two unconfirmed players (both recovered)

Riccardo Marchizza (recovered)

Giulio Maggiore (recovered)

Martin Erlic (recovered)

Gennaro Acampora (recovered)

Matteo Ricci (recovered)

Simone Bastoni (recovered)

Ivan Provedel (in isolation)


Torino: 15

13 unconfirmed players (six have recovered, eight positive)

Marco Giampaolo (recovered)*

Antonio Sanabria (recovered)

* former coach, sacked in January 18, 2021


Verona: 4

Mattia Zaccagni (recovered)

Koray Gunter (recovered)

Antonin Barak (recovered)

Darko Lazovic (recovered)


IFAB revises handball rule

The IFAB has revised the handball rules, confirming the ‘accidental handball leading to a teammate scoring a goal will no longer be an offence’.

The International Football Association Board is the only body responsible for changing the rules and has released a statement of the revised handball rules from this July.

“As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the Law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand /arm with the ball is an offence,” the statement said.

“In terms of the criterion of the hand/arm making a player’s body ‘unnaturally bigger’, it was confirmed that referees should continue to use their judgement in determining the validity of the hand/arm’s position in relation to the player’s movement in that specific situation.

“Following this clarification, it is a handball office if a player:

– deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball;

– touches the ball with their hand/arm when it had made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised; or

– scores in the opponents’ goal: directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including the goalkeeper; or immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental.

“Accidental handball that leads to a teammate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.”


Inter consider Fortress offer

According to Il Sole 24 Ore, Suning is considering a €250m bid from Fortress that would allow the company to keep a majority stake in the club.

Suning is looking for “suitable partners” to support Inter financially and according to reports in Italy, the Zhang family could sell a majority or minority stake in the club.

BC Partners are in talks to take over the club, but the British fund’s offer is not the only one that Suning is considering.

Economic paper Il Sole 24 Ore reports Fortress has recently placed a €250m bid that would allow Suning to keep a majority stake in the club.

Fortress would pay the fee in two instalments. Bain Capital Credit has also made a similar approach, according to the report.

Suning value the club at €1 billion and BC Partners has offered €700-800m to acquire a majority stake in the club, a proposal that Suning seems reluctant to accept.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is also reported to be considering a bid, but the economic paper claims there are no concrete negotiations between the two parties.


Liveblog: Parma v Inter

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from the Stadio Tardini, where Inter hope to extend their lead at the top of the table against desperate Parma.

It kicks off at 19.45 GMT and is the final game in the midweek Serie A round.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

Antonio Conte has the chance to move six points clear at the top of the table after Milan were held by Udinese last night.

He also has to keep an eye on the yellow cards, as he doesn’t want star men suspended for the upcoming showdown with Atalanta.

Romelu Lukaku, Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolò Barella and Alessandro Bastoni are one booking away from a ban.

Parma have certainly improved since Roberto D’Aversa returned to the bench, but the last two games saw them fumble 2-0 leads for 2-2 draws.


HT: Inter frustrated by Parma

It’s still goalless at the break, as both Parma and Inter had chances, including a fine save on Jasmin Kurtic and Christian Eriksen close call.

Follow all the action as it happens and give your views on the LIVEBLOG.

The Nerazzurri could extend their lead at the top of the table to six points after Milan were held by Udinese last night, so Lautaro Martinez was the only man rested, despite Monday’s upcoming showdown with Atalanta. Gervinho, Andreas Cornelius, Joshua Zirkzee and Andrea Conti were out for Parma, who were in penultimate place and had fumbled 2-0 leads to draw 2-2 in their last two games.

Luigi Sepe had to get his hand to a dangerous Achraf Hakimi pull-back in the opening minutes, but after Juraj Kucka’s effort was charged down, the hosts had penalty appeals rejected when VAR confirmed Dennis Man had kicked Nicolò Barella rather than the other way round.

Parma started well and Samir Handanovic needed a great save on Jasmin Kurtic’s header from close range on Hernani’s cross from the right.

Christian Eriksen had an extraordinary chance on 31 minutes when Hakimi pulled back from the by-line, but he’d over-run the ball and it was behind him six yards from an open goal.

Moments later, Sepe parried a Milan Skriniar effort and Ivan Perisic’s follow-up was charged down, while Sepe also denied Lukaku.

On the stroke of half-time, Lukaku nodded Perisic’s cross wide of the back post. However, Parma also threatened, as Dennis Man’s flicked header flashed just past the far top corner.

Parma 0-0 Inter (Half-Time)

Parma: Sepe; Osorio, Bani, Valenti, Gagliolo; Hernani, Brugman, Kurtic; Kucka; Karamoh, Man

Inter: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Eriksen, Perisic; Alexis Sanchez, Lukaku

Ref: Pasqua


Lucarelli urges Parma ‘mental strength’

Parma director Alessandro Lucarelli explains they ‘dropped points against teams we expected to beat’ and must find their mental strength with Inter.

It kicks off at 19.45 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

“Inter are the best team in Serie A right now. They perhaps didn’t start that well, but have now poked their heads in front and deserve to be there,” Lucarelli told Sky Sport Italia.

The Ducali, on the other hand, are in penultimate place and without a victory in 15 Serie A rounds.

“The way out is trying to bring the best out of ourselves in every game. Of course, the psychological aspect isn’t the best right now, but we have to find that strength within the group to change the inertia of the season.

“If we remain in this situation, that is purely our own fault, so we have to do everything we can to turn it around and change what we can change.

“In the last game, we again showed that we put in the performance and take the lead, but struggle to keep hold of it. That’s happened four or five times this season, and if we had just held those leads, we’d be in a different position right now.

“Mental strength is the element we need to turn this around. We basically played all our bonuses and have to scrap for every point in every single remaining match.

“It won’t be easy tonight against the leaders, but we need to limit the errors as much as we can and try to make the most of every opportunity.”

For the last two games against Udinese and Spezia, Parma have gone 2-0 up only to draw 2-2.

“If we look at the goals that we conceded, most of them are individual errors, and those are difficult to work on in training. In my later years, I did more work with my voice than my legs, and I do feel there isn’t the right communication and determination on the pitch. The mental aspect is so important in these situations,” continued the former defender.

“Managing to get a result against Inter tonight would give us belief, confidence and the knowledge we can fight it out to the end. We’ve dropped points against teams we expected to beat and are now forced to chase points against Inter to make up for it.”

Parma had been 2-0 up at San Siro in October, eventually drawing 2-2 in another thriller.

“We made the most of our chances running into space, but then threw it away when we didn’t move in unison as defenders. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a lot of points this season from leading situations due to individual errors or at times a lack of determination caused by the fear of conceding goals.”


Liveblog: Serie A Wk25 Midweek Madness

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from today’s seven Serie A games, including Sassuolo-Napoli, Fiorentina-Roma, Milan-Udinese and the Genoa Derby.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

We begin at 17.30 GMT at the Mapei Stadium, where Napoli try to build some momentum in this difficult trip to Sassuolo.

All the other matches kick off at 19.45 GMT, including the always dramatic Derby della Lanterna between bitter rivals Genoa and Sampdoria.

Milan host Udinese and try to close within a point of leaders Inter, at least temporarily, while Roma aim to get back on track against Fiorentina.

Atalanta take on a Crotone side making their debut under new coach Serse Cosmi, as Leonardo Semplici tries to build on his perfect start at Cagliari by welcoming Bologna.

Benevento and Hellas Verona face off to complete the midweek madness.


Musso: ‘I have grown up at Udinese’

Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, who has been linked with moves to Roma and Inter, said he ‘continues to improve’ with every Serie A game.

The Argentine has played 89 League games with the Friuli ahead of tonight’s match against Milan, and his performances in Udine has led to interest from some of the giants in the division.

Musso said his growth path with the Bianconeri has helped him improve.

“The experience gained in almost 100 Serie A games, the fact of knowing better the opponents and teammates are all factors that have given me serenity,” the goalkeeper told Serie A’s official YouTube channel.

“When you feel calm, everything becomes easier, even what you already knew.

“Today, I’m a very different goalkeeper compared to when I made my debut. I have grown up, I continue to improve game after game.”

Musso, who arrived from Racing Club in July 2018, has kept 28 clean sheets in Serie A so far.