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Serie A

Coronavirus: Forget the ‘cursed’ Scudetto, we’re in a battle to survive – Massimo Cellino

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Massimo Cellino says surviving coronavirus outbreak is his only priority, calling for the Serie A season to end now and not stay suspended.

Massimo Cellino has said he doesn’t “give a s***” about how Serie A finishes, declaring: “If anyone wants this cursed Scudetto, take it.”

The Brescia owner, who admits his team deserve their position at the foot of the table, called for the 2019-20 campaign to be aborted. At present, it is suspended indefinitely.

He says players should give up a third of their wages and clubs should accept an equivalent cut in their TV income while the coronavirus continues to stop football taking place.

In an emotional interview, Cellino said he had been feverish for three days and was experiencing depression amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Italy has been the world’s hardest-hit country in terms of the number of deaths from the pandemic, with over 4,800 losing their lives.

And for Cellino, football can wait while his country attempts to protect itself from worse days to come.

“You don’t have to think about when to start [football] again, but whether you survive. And if we talk about football, everything has to be moved to next season,” Cellino said. “Realism, gentlemen. This is the plague.”

Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Cellino said: “I’ve had a fever for three days and I’ve been in quarantine for eleven. I’m staying in at home in Padenghe sul Garda, I am alone. My wife Francesca is stuck in Cagliari, I have a son in Milan, the others elsewhere. I have seen and heard things that you cannot even imagine.”

He said the people of Brescia “ripped my heart out” with their bravery and added: “They have only one desire, to get back to work, to start living again. And do you want to talk about the championship, the championship? I don’t give a s*** … I’m afraid to leave the house, I’m having depression.”

The 63-year-old former Leeds United owner spoke of his admirations for ‘ultras’ who are taking oxygen to hospitals and his sorrow for those who are suffering.

“You can no longer play this season. Think about the next one,” he said. “Some people still doesn’t realise what is happening, and that is worse than the virus. I don’t believe in miracles, I stopped doing it long ago. We reset.

“The season is gone. If anyone wants this cursed Scudetto, take it. Closed. Finished. And I don’t talk like that because Brescia are last in the standings. We are last because we deserve it.”

As for how Italian football should confront its financial problems that have been triggered by the suspension of all matches, Cellino said the solution was “very simple”, defining it as: “One third of the championship was burned, and then one third of the players’ salary was cut, one third of the television rights and one third of the taxes.”

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Serie A

Coronavirus: Dybala feeling ‘much better’ after suffering with COVID-19

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Juventus star Paulo Dybala has confirmed he suffered with strong symptoms of coronavirus, but is now recovering.

Paulo Dybala is feeling “much better” after experiencing strong symptoms of coronavirus over the past week.

Dybala confirmed on March 21 that he and his girlfriend Oriana Sabatini had tested positive for the virus, which has caused the postponement of sport across the globe.

The Argentine international said that both he and Sabatini were feeling fine, though – in a video call posted to Juve’s official Twitter account – Dybala has revealed he subsequently came down with strong symptoms.

“I feel good, much better in fact, after having had some strong symptoms for a couple of days,” Dybala said.

“Today I feel much better, without any symptoms and I can move much better, so I will try to train again.

 

 

“After having attempted to in the days where the symptoms were strong, I felt uncomfortable very quickly and I couldn’t get any air so I couldn’t do anything.

“After about five minutes I felt really tired and my body felt heavy, my muscles hurt and I had to stop.

“But luckily both me and my girlfriend feel much better now.”

Dybala was the third Juve player to test positive for COVID-19, after Daniele Rugani – who was the first Serie A player to be diagnosed with the illness – and Blaise Matuidi.

COVID-19 has taken hold in Italy over the course of the past month, where there have been 86,498 confirmed cases and 9,134 deaths.

 

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Serie A

Reports: Pogba to Juventus, Dybala or Pjanic to Man Utd

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Manchester United could be set to gain a Juventus star if Paul Pogba returns to Turin.

Juventus may be able to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin, but it could cost them a star.

Pogba, 27, has been linked with a move away from Manchester United, having returned to Old Trafford in 2016.

But the Serie A champions could be ready to give up a leading player in their bid to bring the France international back.

TOP STORY – POGBA TO JUVENTUS, DYBALA OR PJANIC TO MAN UTD

Manchester United midfielder Pogba could return to Juventus for money plus Paulo Dybala or Miralem Pjanic, according to Tuttosport.

 

Dybala almost headed to Old Trafford during the close season but is reportedly close to signing a contract extension with Juventus.

Pjanic, meanwhile, has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season, having arrived at Juve from domestic rivals Roma in 2016.

ROUND-UP

– The talk around Lautaro Martinez possibly leaving Inter to join Barcelona continues. Sport reports Barca are advancing in their bid to convince Martinez, with their project and potentially playing with Lionel Messi at club level their key points.

 

– With his Real Madrid future uncertain, Marcelo could be set for a move. Juventus are again interested in the left-back, according to Marca.

– Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu – Lucas Vazquez could also be heading for a Real Madrid exit. AS reports there have been no discussions over a potential contract extension with the forward, whose deal expires next year.

– Martin Braithwaite only arrived at Barcelona in February, but the LaLiga giants are already considering their options. Sport says Barca will not sell Braithwaite for less than €18million, which is what they paid to land the forward. Everton and West Ham are reportedly interested in the Denmark international.

– Arsenal are seemingly considering a move for Nabil Fekir again. The Premier League club were linked with the forward last year, but the Daily Star reports the Real Betis man is back on their radar as a potential replacement for Dani Ceballos, whose loan from Real Madrid ends at the conclusion of the season.

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Coronavirus: AS Roma to dedicate next match to frontline medical staff

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Medical workers will receive free tickets and reduced rates moving forward at Roma following the coronavirus crisis

Roma will dedicate their first match following the coronavirus pandemic to medical staff around the world, with 5,000 free tickets to be given to frontline workers.

Elite sport has been halted by the global crisis, with more than 650,000 confirmed cases and over 30,000 deaths.

Only the United States has more cases than Italy, where Serie A has been suspended until at least May 3.

Roma last played at Cagliari on March 1, winning 4-3, but the club have a plan for their next game in front of a packed crowd at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Serie A side said they will dedicate their “first home match in front of fans after football returns to honouring and celebrating the medical workers who have been on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19”.

A statement added it was “an extension of the club’s ‘HEROES’ series on social media, which pays tribute to individual doctors, nurses and medics in Italy and around the world”.

 

The promise of 5,000 free tickets for medical workers would “allow fans to show their appreciation for the selfless efforts of the medics during this crisis”, Roma explained.

They will also honour workers who have lost their lives, introduce a reduced price rate for medical staff from the start of next season, and donate a proportion of each ticket sale to the club’s fundraising campaign.

Roma president James Pallotta added: “It is impossible to overstate just how much we appreciate the work of the medical staff in Italy and around the world.”

Pallotta has donated €75,000 to the club’s COVID-19 fundraising project, which has brought in more than €530,000.

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