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Maurizio Sarri expected Juventus scrutiny as Serie A champions

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Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is facing pressure after two defeats in three Serie A games, but he insists he expected the focus.

Maurizio Sarri has vowed the pressure on his work at Juventus is “normal” and said he always fully expected president Andrea Agnelli to scrutinise his results.

The head coach had dinner at the weekend with Agnelli and sporting director Fabio Paratici, in the wake of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Hellas Verona.

Juventus also suffered a rare loss at Napoli in late January.

There have been claims that Juventus could look to bring back Massimiliano Allegri, who has not moved on to a new job since leaving the Turin giants at the end of last season.

Allegri delivered five successive Serie A titles, but the club’s run of eight in a row is coming under threat from Inter, who head Juventus on goal difference after 23 games.

Sarri stressed the dinner meeting had been long planned, and was initially due to take place on February 2 after the Fiorentina game.

In a news conference, he quipped: “If I hadn’t wanted to be under scrutiny I would have applied to work at the post office.”

Sarri added: “I see the president often, and every now and then we go out for dinner. It was something that was already planned. Andrea says he wants to introduce me to the best restaurants in Turin, but we never talk about a single game, rather about everything.

“It is normal that my work is always under scrutiny. We are in February and we are fighting for every competition, which is in line with the initial goals. It is clear that we come from a bad game, but with external rather than internal repercussions.”

While the meeting at restaurant Il Bastimento triggered speculation in Italy, Sarri, in his first season at the club, is determined to prove he can meet the demands of his job.

Juventus are entering a crunch stage of their season, beginning with Thursday’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at Milan.

They face Lyon in the Champions League last 16, with the first leg in France on February 26, before a March 1 date with Inter that could be pivotal in the Serie A title race.

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Serie A

Real Madrid, Inter Milan to compete for signing of Serie A star in summer transfer window

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Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid will compete with the Italian Serie A outfit Inter Milan for the signing of Napoli’s star midfielder Fabian Ruiz in the summer transfer window. The Spain international has been a real sensation ever since joining the Naples-based outfit and has been attracting interest from a number of top clubs in Europe.

Both Real and City have been in the market to sign players in order to strengthen their squad for future campaigns.

Therefore, as per Daily Express, Real and City are ready to compete in the transfer market as well where they are both making a move to sign Ruiz in the summer transfer window.

However, it will be interesting to see if either club will be able to convince Napoli’s hierarchy in selling their prized asset in the upcoming transfer window.

Ruiz has been with Napoli since the summer of 2018 when he moved from Spanish La Liga club Real Betis for a reported transfer fee of €30 million.

Since then, the versatile midfielder has represented his current club in 70 matches in all competitions where he has managed to score 10 times and provided five assists as well.

In the ongoing campaign, the 23-year-old has three goals and two assists to his name in 30 appearances for Napoli in all competitions.

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Chelsea eye move for PSG star in the summer transfer window, Inter Milan, Mauro Icardi

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English Premier League club Chelsea are eyeing a move for French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint Germain (PSG)’s on-loan star striker Mauro Icadi in the summer transfer window. The Argentina international is currently spending a season-long loan with the Paris-based club who also have an option to make the deal permanent by paying €70 million.

In the recent past, reports have circulated in the Italian and French media which suggested that PSG are not looking to make Icardi’s move permanent and he is likely to return to San Siro after the end of the ongoing campaign.

Therefore, as per FC Inter News, Chelsea are ready to take advantage of the situation and sign Icardi in the summer transfer window in order to bolster their attacking unit for the future campaigns.

Chelsea have been in the market for quite some time in order to enhance the competition in the attacking department where there is too much reliance on young striker Tammy Abraham.

That is not the only problem Blues are facing in the competition as two other strikers, Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud are likely to leave the club in the summer as well.

In the ongoing campaign, Icardi has represented his current club in 28 matches in all competitions where he has managed to score 19 times and provided four assists.

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Juventus vs Inter in doubt with Italian PM considering postponing Week 26 Serie A fixtures due to coronavirus

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Upcoming fixtures across Italy’s leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juventus scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte revealed all of Serie A’s Week 26 fixtures, including the blockbuster showdown between Juventus and Inter, could be postponed due to coronavirus fears.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Italy forced four top-flight matches to be postponed over the weekend, including Sunday’s clash between Scudetto hopefuls Inter and Sampdoria.

Italy’s move came as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 which originated in China, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Now, upcoming fixtures across Italy’s leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juve scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

“I don’t think that in just one week we’d be able to slow down the contagion so much that we could resume sporting events,” Conte told Rai.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and will evaluate. We’ll see the evolution of the contagion and evaluate postponing all next week’s matches.”

Juve are a point clear atop the table following Saturday’s 2-1 victory away at bottom side SPAL.

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal, scoring in an 11th consecutive top-flight match – matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

In-form Lazio were also in action on Saturday and edged Genoa 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 games, while Inter are six points off the pace with a game in hand.

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