Lukaku: ‘Inter have many players ready for war’

Romelu Lukaku said Inter have ‘so many players ready to go to war’ and feels the Nerazzurri have ‘shown that we are stronger’ in 2020-21.

The Nerazzurri secured the Scudetto with four games remaining and Lukaku pointed at the game against Sassuolo as the start of the path.

“The path towards the Scudetto began against Sassuolo,” Lukaku told DAZN. “We changed the way we played, and we were more compact.

“Lautaro [Martinez] and Alexis [Sanchez] played, I was on the bench. But I immediately understood that the team were united.

“The games against Milan, Atalanta and Lazio were still waiting for us. Compared to last year, we have won more direct clashes.

“We have shown that we are stronger. After the win against Atalanta, I said to myself: ‘OK, we are really there for the Scudetto’.”

Lukaku spoke about the 3-0 win over Milan in the Derby della Madonnina, when Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez scored the goals at San Siro.

“During the week of preparation for the derby, we trained at a very high level. I joked with Lautaro: ‘We can’t lose this match, it’s impossible’.”

Lukaku then continued to highlight the great partnership he has with the Argentine on the pitch.

“When I saw him for the first time, his father was with him,” Lukaku said. “I told him that within two years we would win some trophies together.

“We work for the team, if I realise that he’s in a better position, I always search for him.”

Lukaku also praised full-back Achraf Hakimi and midfielder Nicoló Barella.

“Hakimi has integrated very well,” Lukaku said. “Now, he’s very important.

“Barella is the voice of the team. Every team needs players ready to go to war and we have so many of them.”

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Lukaku has never scored against Juventus

Inter forward Romelu Lukaku has scored 62 goals in the Nerazzurri shirt but has never found the net against Juventus.

The Belgian forward joined Inter ahead of 2019-20 and has scored 62 times in 93 competitive games so far with the Beneamata.

Lukaku has played against the Bianconeri five times but has never scored, four of them have been with the newly crowned Italian champions.

Lukaku played in a 1-0 defeat in Group H of the Champions League in 2018, when he played for Manchester United, but he was injured in the return leg and has not managed to score against the Old Lady since moving to Serie A almost two years ago.

Lukaku has only been on the winning team against Juventus once, in January 2021, when Inter secured a 2-0 triumph in the League.

The striker was missing through suspension when Juventus won 2-1 in the Coppa Italia due to suspension and couldn’t find the net when it ended 0-0 at the Allianz Stadium in the second leg.

Since joining Inter, Lukaku has only gone four games without scoring against two other opponents, as he has remained goalless against Atalanta and Hellas Verona too.

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Champions League race could be over on Sunday

It’s possible the race for the Champions League spots could be decided this weekend, with Juventus missing out unless they beat Inter.

The battle for the top four had looked as if it was going down to the wire, and the situation is still very tight.

Atalanta and Milan are in joint second place on 75 points, followed by Napoli on 73 and Juventus on 72.

If Atalanta and Milan win their games this weekend – against Genoa and Cagliari respectively – then both of those teams have already booked their spots in the Champions League.

That’s because they both have a superior head-to-head record with Juve.

This makes their final head-to-head in Bergamo useful only to decide between second and third.

Juve have by far the most difficult match this weekend, hosting Scudetto winners Inter.

If they don’t win, and Napoli do get the victory away to Fiorentina, then it’s all over for the Bianconeri.

That’s because it would leave Juve able to get a maximum of 76 points, so at the most they’d finish level with Napoli.

Their head-to-head record is identical, a win each and two goals scored apiece.

In that situation, it’d go down to overall goal difference and Napoli are comfortably out in front here with +43 compared to the Bianconeri’s 35.

Juventus therefore have to beat Inter and hope Napoli don’t pick up all three points at the Stadio Franchi.

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Brozovic wore ‘wrong’ Inter kit against Roma

Marcelo Brozovic scored in Inter’s 3-1 win over Roma last night, but eagle-eyed viewers noticed he had a different kit to his teammates.

The game was the opportunity for the Nerazzurri to unveil their new fourth-choice special edition jersey, which combines elements of the other three shirts used this season.

It also therefore had the new club logo, an I and M intertwined.

That logo should’ve been present on both the shirt and the shorts.

However, Footy Headlines spotted that Brozovic was wearing the ‘old’ shorts with the out-dated Inter logo on it.

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Udinese set new De Paul price-tag

Udinese are reportedly prepared to lower the asking price for Rodrigo De Paul to €30-35m, alerting Inter, Roma, Juventus, Napoli, Milan and Leeds United.

The Argentina international midfielder had already been linked with a move last summer, but remained in part because his wife was pregnant and he did not want to add moving city or even country to her stress.

The price-tag had until very recently been €40m, which put off Leeds United among other candidates for the creative midfielder.

However, with the pandemic hitting the transfer market and De Paul now ready to leave, Sky Sport Italia pundit Luca Marchetti told Radio Marte that Udinese could accept €30-35m.

De Paul turns 27 later this month and has contributed nine goals with 11 assists in 36 competitive games this season.

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Inter 3-1 Roma: Unstoppable Nerazzurri

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Report: Sanchez out with sprained ankle

Inter forward Alexis Sanchez had to go off after 35 minutes against Roma and Sky Sport Italia reports he has suffered a sprained ankle.

The Chilean started the match against Roma on Wednesday and Inter currently lead 2-1 over the Giallorossi.

You can follow the action as it happens on the Liveblog HERE.

But the match finished prematurely for the former Manchester United striker, as he limped off after only 35 minutes.

The Chilean was replaced by Lautaro Martinez at 2-1 and the broadcaster now reveals he suffered a sprained ankle.

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Liveblog: Serie A Wk36 Midweek Madness

Join us for the build-up and action as it happens from today’s eight Serie A games, including Cagliari-Fiorentina, Inter-Roma, Sassuolo-Juventus and Torino-Milan.

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

We begin at 17.30 UK time (16.30 GMT) at the Sardegna Arena, where Cagliari and Fiorentina aren’t entirely safe yet from the threat of relegation, despite starting the season aiming for Europe.

All the other seven matches kick off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

Inter-Roma is always a fascinating clash and their last six consecutive meetings have ended in draws, often high-scoring ones.

Juventus desperately need to get back on track as they visit a Sassuolo side in exceptional form, while relegation-threatened Torino and second-place Milan face off in a scrap for precious points.

Atalanta have the chance to consolidate second place and doom Benevento to the drop, Lazio try to shake off their recent setback against Parma, with Bologna-Genoa and Sampdoria-Spezia completing the final midweek round.

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Adriano: ‘I have a hole in my soul’

Adriano explains in his own words why Inter will always be ‘something special’ for him, especially Massimo Moratti, and why his career went off the rails after a family tragedy. ‘I have a hole in my ankle and one in my soul.’

The Brazilian, known as L’Imperatore, told his story for The Players Tribune and his love for Inter is undiminished by the years.

“Still, to this day, Inter is my club. I love Flamengo, São Paulo, Corinthians… I love many of the places I have played, but Inter is something special for me,” he said.

“The Italian press? O.K., that’s another story. Hahahaha. But Inter the club? The best, man. 

“Damn, man. A favela guy like me? I’m the Emperor of Italy? I had not even done much yet, and everyone was treating me like a king. It was crazy. I remember my family all coming over from Rio to visit me, and when I say my family, you don’t understand what I mean, bro. I mean my family. Brazilian style. I’m not talking about just mom and dad, I’m talking about 44 people, man! Cousins! Aunts! Uncles! My boys! The whole neighborhood got on that airplane.

“So the news got to the club president, Mr. Moratti (the legend!!) And Mr. Moratti said, “Hey, this is a special moment for the kid. Let’s get a bus for his family.” Moratti had his people secure a whole tour bus for them. Can you imagine, 44 Brazilians on tour in Italy? Hahaha! It was a scene, bro. It was party time. 

“This is the reason why I will never say a bad word about Mr. Moratti, or about Inter. Every club should be run like that. He cared about me as a person.”

At the height of Adriano’s fame and when his career was truly taking off to seemingly become one of the all-time greats, his father suddenly passed away in Brazil.

“You know, sometimes I think I am one of the most misunderstood footballers on the planet. People don’t really understand what happened to me. They have the story all wrong. It’s very simple, honestly.

“In the span of nine days, I went from the happiest day of my life, to the worst day of my life. I went from Heaven to Hell. For real.”

On July 25, 2004, he scored when Brazil beat Argentina in the Copa America Final. On August 4, his father died of a heart attack.

“I don’t really want to talk about it, but I will tell you that after that day, my love for football was never the same. He loved the game, so I loved the game. It was that simple. It was my destiny. When I played football, I played for my family. When I scored, I scored for my family. So when my father died, football was never the same. 

“I was across the ocean in Italy, away from my family, and I just couldn’t cope with it. I got so depressed, man. I started drinking a lot. I didn’t really want to train. It had nothing to do with Inter. I just wanted to go home. 

“Not all injuries are physical, you understand? When I popped my Achilles in 2011? Man, I knew that’s when it was over for me, physically. You can get surgery and rehabilitate it and try to carry on, but you will never be the same. My explosiveness was gone. My balance was gone. I still walk with a limp. I still have a hole in my ankle. 

“It was the same thing when my father died. Except the scar was inside me. Brother, it’s simple. I have a hole in my ankle, and one in my soul.”

Adriano thanks Moratti for accepting without any protest that a return to Brazil was the best thing for him, giving the young man all the time and space he needed to heal himself.

He also denies that he was ever on drugs, although does confess his drinking was out of control.

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Gravina opens ‘dialogue’ with Juventus

Federation President Gabriele Gravina is confident ‘we can overcome’ the obstacles surrounding the Super League and Juventus. ‘I have to protect the competition, not individual clubs.’

It comes after a warning that if Juve continue to sign up to the Super League project along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, and take legal action against UEFA or the other clubs who pulled out, then they could be excluded from Serie A as well as any UEFA tournament.

“Of course I spoke to Andrea Agnelli, it’s my duty to seek out dialogue and find solutions,” FIGC President Gravina told news agency Ansa.

“Aside from the choices he will take, I feel that we have what it takes to overcome the positions that are currently distant.”

He also reiterated that Juventus cannot try to transform the existing Calcio landscape.

“I have to protect the competition, not the individual clubs. The rules exist regardless of the economic power of the clubs or the size of their fanbase.”

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