Inter’s Milan’s Chinese Owners Dismiss Financial Crisis Claims

Inter Milan’s forward Citadin Martins Eder from Italy reacts during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan Vs Benevento on February 24, 2018 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.
MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Chinese-owned Italian club Inter Milan on Thursday dismissed reports that their finances were in such disarray they should be demoted from Serie A.

According to a report in Italian Financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore, Inter are operating an imbalanced budget.

But in a statement, Inter said reports were “incorrect and misleading as well as harmful to the image of the club, which has fully adhered to Italian law and FIGC regulations.”

“Inter Milan would like to make it clear that its consolidated financial statements contain comprehensive data and information as required by the Italian Civil Code and legal and regulatory provisions relating to the financial statements of football clubs.”

Chinese businessman Zhang Jindong’s Suning group paid nearly 270 million euros for Inter in June last year.

But Il Sole reported that within the last financial year, the club’s total debt has risen to 637.56 million euros, which is almost 150 million euros more than the previous year.

A total 208 million euros is owed to banks, it was claimed, while more than 220 million euros needs to be paid back to shareholders

“The club believes it to be of primary importance that laws and regulations on financial statements are adhered to and will take all necessary legal actions to defend itself and its image in order to once again confirm that the financial information contained in the financial statement, explanatory notes and management report is transparent and truthful.”

The club are currently fourth in Serie A, 18 points behind leaders Napoli.

AFP

Crisis-Ridden Italian FA Fails To Elect President

Crisis-Ridden Italian FA Fails To Elect President
Cosimo Sibilia (L), one of the three candidates to the presidency of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) reacts next to fellow candidate Gabriele Gravina (R) during a meeting ahead of the vote in Rome on January 29, 2018.    Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

The Italian football federation (FIGC) sank further into crisis on Monday after failing to elect a new president on Monday, two-and-a-half months after the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

After four rounds of voting at a general meeting held in Fiumicino near Rome, none of the three candidates — the president of the Amateur League (LND) Cosimo Sibilia, the president of the third-tier Lega Pro division Gabriele Gravina and the head of the professional players’ union (AIC) Damiano Tommasi — managed to obtain a majority.

The failed elections mean that Italian football is without a president for both the FIGC and top division Serie A and has no national team coach, following Gian Piero Ventura’s dismissal post-World Cup failure.

Sibilia, Gravina and Tommasi were vying for the position left by previous president Carlo Tavecchio, who was forced to step down after the Italian national team’s elimination from this summer’s World Cup in Russia, the first time since 1958 they missed out on the tournament.

The failure to elect a president will almost certainly mean that the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will take control of the FIGC.

CONI president Giovanni Malago had asked again on Saturday for the vote to be postponed, after previously saying that the vote should be held back for three months in order to allow Serie A to elect its president.

Tavecchio is the interim commissioner of Serie A after being nominated for the role by the FIGC in April last year.

AFP

Cagliari Apologise To Matuidi For Fan Racism

Cagliari Apologise To Matuidi For Fan Racism
Juventus’ midfielder Blaise Matuidi (R) talks with referee Gianpaolo Calvarese during the Serie A match between Cagliari Calcio and Juventus at the Sardegna Arena stadium in Cagliari, on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, on January 6, 2018. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Serie A club Cagliari apologised on Sunday to Blaise Matuidi for the racist abuse fans directed at the Juventus winger during the Italian champions 1-0 win in Sardinia on Saturday, the second time he has received such abuse in as many weeks.

Writing in French on their Twitter account, Cagliari apologised for the abuse, which took place late in the first half of a tense encounter at the Sardegna Arena following a clash between Matuidi and a Cagliari defender.

“You are a fantastic player and an example to young people. We want to apologise to you if you were insulted for the colour of your skin at the Sardegna Arena,” said the club.

“The Sardinian people want nothing to do with racism. Only ignorance can explain certain behaviour. Respect.”

After hearing the abuse from the stands Matuidi rushed to referee Giampaolo Calvarese but the official ignored the French international’s pleas to intervene and Medhi Benatia and Paulo Dybala had to calm their teammate down.

“Today I experienced racism during the match. Weak people try to intimidate with hate, I am not a hater and can only be sorry for those who set bad examples,” Matuidi said in a statement to AFP.

“Football is a way to spread equality, passion and inspiration and this is what I am here for. Peace.”

On Sunday Matuidi’s old club expressed their support for their former player, saying on Twitter that “The Paris Saint-Germain family is with you”.

The abuse Matuidi received at Cagliari came after similar racist chants directed at him during Juve’s 3-1 win at Hellas Verona late last month, for which Verona were fined 20,000 euros ($24,000) by the Italian league.

AFP

Pjanic Stars As Juventus Rise To Second With Win At Bologna

Miralem Pjanic (R) celebrates with teammates Douglas Costa (C), Blaise Matuidi (L) and Andrea Barzagli. Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

Juventus climbed to second in Serie A after a star turn from Miralem Pjanic led the reigning champions to a comfortable win at Bologna on Sunday, while AC Milan sunk further into crisis with a loss at lowly Hellas Verona.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve are on 41 points, just a point behind leaders Napoli after leapfrogging Inter Milan, who suffered their first defeat of the season, 3-1 to Udinese, on Saturday.

Juventus won 3-0. Pjanic opened the scoring with a stunning 27th-minute free-kick. The Bosnian turned provider nine minutes later, clipping a beautiful pass to Mario Mandzukic that the Croat smartly chested down and stroked past Bologna keeper Antonio Mirante.

Blaise Matuidi made sure of the points in the 64th minute with his first Serie A goal, the France international crashing a clearance back past Mirante on the half volley.

“I feel good, I’m improving, the team got the three points we needed and I am happy,” midfielder Pjanic said before looking ahead to the meeting with a title rival next Saturday in Turin.

“We have to be ready for the next match against Roma. They are a very strong side and will be challenging for the Scudetto.”

The crisis enveloping another Italian giant deepened as Milan collapsed, 3-0, at Verona, for an eighth defeat of the season thanks to a powerful header from Antonio Caracciolo and two smart finishes from Moise Kean and Daniel Bessa.

Milan’s expensive squad has failed to get going in Serie A, and are languishing in seventh on just 24 points, 18 behind Napoli and 14 adrift of fourth and the final Champions League place.

— ‘No excuses’ for Milan —

“There are no excuses, we embarrassed ourselves,” said Gennaro Gattuso, the Milan manager, after the defeat.

“In the first 25 minutes we created loads of chances but they made us pay with their first opportunity.

“Up until their first goal we played well, creating plenty, but we collapsed at the first obstacle put in our way, as has happened often this season.”

Roma holds fourth and are just four points behind leader Napoli after a dramatic 1-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday, decided in the 94th-minute by Federico Fazio, whose goal had to be confirmed by the video assistant referee after Cagliari’s protested they had seen a handball.

Lazio are fifth, five behind Roma, but have played two fewer games and can close the gap in their Sunday evening game at Atalanta.

Juve have kept four straight clean sheets in the league since losing at Sampdoria last month and never looked in trouble at Bologna, despite troubled talent Paulo Dybala being left out.

Argentine Dybala was benched again by Allegri amid rumours of personal problems that have affected his form and he had something to prove when he was brought with 15 minutes left, Juve three goals up after Blaise Matuidi had made it three with his first Serie A goal in the 64th minute.

Dybala forced a smart save from Mirante but looked a shadow of the player that helped fire Juve to the Champions League final last season.

Crotone moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over Chievo gained thanks to Ante Budimir’s 33rd-minute tap-in, which moves them up to 16th on 15 points.

They are two behind 15th-placed Sassuolo, who snatched a last gasp 1-0 win at Sampdoria through Alessandro Matri, who made up for Matteo Politano’s 82nd-minute penalty miss for the away side.

Ninth-placed Fiorentina are four points behind Samp after their goalless draw with fourth-from-bottom Genoa, who are just a point above the drop zone.

AFP

Higuain Hopeful Of Napoli Return Despite Hand Surgery

Juventus’ forward from Argentina Gonzalo Higuain reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Juventus Barcelona on November 22, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Photo: Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Argentina ace Gonzalo Higuain could play Friday’s Serie A clash against Napoli despite a broken finger, Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta has insisted.

Champions Juventus, four points behind Napoli, travel to the San Paolo Stadium on Friday before two other crunch ties — a Champions League trip to Olympiakos on December 5 and a Serie A clash against second-place Inter Milan on December 9.

“Today surgery can produce real miracles. Gonzalo has 50 percent chance of playing at the San Paolo,” Marotta told Sky Sports Italia on the sidelines of Monday night’s Grand Gala del Calcio awards organised by the Italian Footballer’s Association.

The 29-year-old Higuain, who left Napoli in 2016 for Turin in a 90 million euro deal, and has scored 10 goals this season, underwent surgery on a fractured bone in his left hand earlier on Monday.

“It’s an important game against Napoli, but I don’t think it’ll be decisive for the end of the season. Of course we’ll try to honour it in the best way,” said Marotta.

“Generally this game comes when Juventus aren’t at the top, but we’re aware how hard the match is and while we respect them, we’re not afraid.”

Despite two lost Champions League finals in the past three years — 2015 and 2017 — Marotta said that they were not focusing more on Europe this season.

“We know that the charm of the Champions League is unique. But let’s not forget that we play in Italy and we want to honour the championship in the best way, winning what is just as beautiful a cup for the seventh time (in a row).”

Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic added: “Higuain is very motivated, we will see if he will be available against Napoli. We hope so, but even if he’s not we will do our best to get to the three points.

“It will be a match between two beautiful teams, who will battle to the end for the Scudetto.

“We have many champions and, although we have shown some struggles, we want to win the Scudetto which is the number one goal, hoping to be able to continue the Champions League.”

Juventus are second in the Group D behind already qualified Barcelona and a point ahead of third-place Sporting Lisbon, needing to secure their Champions League qualification at Olympiakos.

AFP

Juventus Suffer Shock Defeat At Sampdoria

Sampdoria’s forward Duvan Zapata from Colombia (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Sampdoria Vs Juventus on November 19, 2017 at the ‘Luigi Ferraris’ Stadium in Genoa. Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Sampdoria ran riot as Serie A champions Juventus lost their both and ground on leaders Napoli in the Italian title race on Sunday suffering a 3-2 setback in Genoa.

Colombian striker Duvan Zapata, Uruguayan Lucas Torreira and Italian defender Gian Marco Ferrari all found the net in the second half as Sampdoria maintained their perfect home record in Genoa this season.

Juventus got two goals back in injury time with Gonzalo Higuain scoring from the spot and substitute Paulo Dybala grabbing a second just before the final whistle.

But it was too late as Juventus fell four points behind leaders Napoli — 2-0 winners over AC Milan on Saturday.

“This was an unexpected slap in the face that really made us lose our cool,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“We should have been patient, even if things weren’t going our way. It’s a long game, you have to stay calm.”

Napoli have 35 points from 13 games, with Juventus on 31 and Roma third on 30 with a game in hand, after beating Lazio in a pulsating Rome derby on Saturday.

Inter Milan can move second ahead of Juventus later Sunday when they host Atalanta.

Allegri took a risk as he rested Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli after Italy’s World Cup play-off defeat with Dybala starting on the bench against a Sampdoria side who have made their home ground a fortress this season.

Sampdoria kept Juventus reined in in the first half with Zapata breaking the deadlock when he headed in after 52 minutes with Torreira firing in the second on 71 minutes and Ferrari a third eight minutes later.

Juventus were awarded a penalty after Ivan Strinic fouled Douglas Costa in the box with Higuain getting the visitors first after 91 minutes, with Dybala added the second in the final action of the game.

Juventus conceded just their second defeat of the season after Lazio, in a blow for Allegri’s side as they prepare to face Barcelona in Champions League next Wednesday.

Earlier Luca Rigoni’s first half goal got new Genoa boss Davide Ballardini off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory at Crotone.

Promoted Benevento suffered their 13th defeat in as many games, falling 2-1 to Sassuolo, as Fiorentina were held 1-1 by SPAL.

Lorenzo Insigne washed away his World Cup woes by starring in Napoli’s 2-1 victory over a struggling but spirited AC Milan on Saturday.

The 26-year-old’s goal in the 33rd minute was given thanks to referee Daniele Doveri consulting the video assistant referee.

Insigne also drew a fine save from Gianluigi Donnarumma on the stroke of half-time and laid on Dries Mertens for a simple chance that the Belgian fired right at the Milan stopper.

Substitute Piotr Zielinski sealed the three points with 17 minutes left.

Milan coach Vincenzo Montella remains under pressure despite a strong second-half performance as his side stay seventh on just 19 points, 11 points away from the Champions League placings, after their sixth defeat in 13 games.

Roma beat Lazio in a pulsating Rome derby thanks to goals from Diego Perotti and Radja Nainggolan.

Ciro Immobile pulled one back from the spot with 18 minutes left after Kostas Manolas’ handball was spotted by the VAR, but Roma held out for a huge win over their local rivals.

For Perotti, his 49th-minute penalty and an assist for Nainggolan’s drilled strike was the continuation of a “rebirth” that saw him called up for Argentina for the first time in six years earlier in the month.

AFP

Higuain Breaks 100-Goal Barrier As Juventus Bury Milan

 

Juventus’ forward Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina celebrates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan Vs Juventus on October 28, 2017 at the ‘Giuseppe Meazza’ Stadium in Milan. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Gonzalo Higuain scored in either half to bring his tally of Serie A goals to 101 as Juventus went top of the Italian league with a 2-0 win that plunged AC Milan further into crisis on Saturday.

Higuain opened after 23 minutes in front of a capacity crowd at the San Siro Stadium and grabbed a second on 63 minutes for the six-time reigning champions.

Juventus move provisionally top with 28 points from 11 games just ahead of Napoli — who host Sassuolo on Sunday — on goal difference.

“When they disallowed the goal against SPAL, we said it was my destiny to score the 100th at San Siro! Now it’s 101, not bad,” Higuain told Sky Sport Italia.

“We’re a strong team and when we play like that it’s difficult to beat us,” said Higuain. “It was essential not to concede a goal.

“I don’t listen to criticism, I just always try to be myself and today we had a great team effort.”

Vincenzo Montella’s Milan, who had ended their run of three consecutive defeats at Chievo midweek, had little answer for their northern Italian neighbours.

The future looks increasingly bleak for Montella whose side are now in eighth position, 12 points behind the leaders, and far below their objective of Champions League football next season.

Milan captain Leonardo Bonucci was absent as he completed his two-match ban against his former club.

After early pressure from the hosts, Juventus got into their stride with Paulo Dybala weaving his way through for fellow Argentine Higuain to blast in his 100th league goal after 22 minutes.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini risked an own goal as he nodded just wide when anticipating Nikola Kalinic.

Croatian striker Kalinic had Milan’s best chance just before the first half whistle but his effort was deflected by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon onto the crossbar.

Higuain’s second came after Kwadwo Asamoah crossed to Dybala who let the ball pass between his legs for the Argentine marksman to trick Ricardo Rodriguez and rifle past Gianluigi Donnarumma after 63 minutes for his sixth league goal of the season.

“Milan perhaps started stronger, but we played like a great team, we deserved the victory.

“The coach said games never end at San Siro and that is absolutely true. We stayed focussed for the full 90 minutes and made only one mistake, when they hit the bar.

“Now we have to recuperate and focus on the Champions League in Lisbon.”

Leaders Napoli can reclaim top spot when they travel north to Sassuolo, who are just two points above the relegation zone, on Sunday.

Inter Milan two points behind the leaders travel to lowly Verona on Monday.

AS Roma host Bologna later Saturday without Dutch international Rick Karsdorp, who picked up a ruptured cruciate ligament during the week.

AFP

Cagliari Sack Coach Massimo Rastelli

Cagliari’s Italian coach Massimo Rastelli. GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

Cagliari’s Massimo Rastelli on Tuesday became the first Serie A coach to be sacked this season after the Sardinian club made a poor start to the campaign.

The 48-year-old took over in the 2015-2016 season, guiding Cagliari into the Italian top flight after winning Serie B in 2016.

Last season the club finished 11th but this term are trailing in 14th position with just two wins in eight games, against relegation rivals Crotone and SPAL.

“We thank Rastelli for over two years of work with professionalism and passion,” Cagliari said in a statement.

“He was a protagonist in winning Serie B and in reaching 11th place last season, and we wish him good luck for the rest of his career.”

Coaching assistants Nicola Legrottaglie and Dario Rossi were also sacked in the clearout.

Cagliari are on a run of four straight losses, the most recent a 3-2 defeat at home against Genoa.

Former Pescara coach Massimo Oddo and Giuseppe Iachini, who last season managed Palermo and Udinese, are being touted as possible replacements.

AFP

Seria A: Dybala Hat-Trick Silences Genoa

Juventus’ Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Genoa v Juventus at The Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa on August 26, 2017.
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Argentina forward Paulo Dybala hit a hat-trick as Juventus recovered from two goals down after a dreadful start to win 4-2 at Genoa in Serie A on Saturday.

With confidence still flying high after last season’s shock 3-1 home win over the champions, Genoa looked on their way to causing another upset after breaching Gianluigi Buffon’s goal twice in the opening minutes.

Seconds into the game the Luigi Ferraris stadium erupted when Goran Pandev skipped past Alex Sandro, rolled the ball across the area and saw his effort deflect off Miralem Pjanic’s knee and into the net.

Memories of last season’s reverse must have come flooding back for visiting coach Massimiliano Allegri, especially when the hosts doubled their lead six minutes later.

For the second successive league game, Juve conceded a penalty following a decision by the video assistant referee (VAR) after defender Daniele Rugani kicked the back of Andrej Galabinov’s heel.

Although Galabinov looked slightly offside, officials consulted the VAR technology to award the penalty, which Galabinov got up to convert.

Juve, however, refused to buckle. Pjanic made part amends for his earlier mishap when he pulled back from the byline for Dybala to beat Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin at his near post before the quarter hour.

The goal was enough to instil Juve confidence and Perin was tested by both Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain shortly after, while Galabinov nodded just wide from Darko Lazovic’s cross at the other end.

Perin, making his first home appearance since rupturing his ACL last season, did well to thwart Dybala twice in succession after he latched on to Pjanic’s pass, scrambling to deny Mario Mandzukic on the follow-up, too.

The VAR was used again, this time to Juve’s advantage, when a penalty was awarded for a Lazovic handball from a Cuadrado pass. Dybala stepped up to convert and level four minutes into first-half stoppage time.

Juve completed their comeback just after the hour thanks to a fine piece of skill from Colombian forward Cuadrado, who controlled Mandzukic’s lob before beating Perin with a left-footed curler into the far top corner.

To their credit, Genoa dug deep and Diego Laxalt was unlucky when his strike skimmed the bottom of the far post, Buffon then hurrying to smother Raffaele Palladino’s close-range effort.

But hopes of snatching a share of the points were tempered by a fine third from Dybala, the diminutive number 10 collecting from Higuain before firing a low drive past Perin.

In Saturday’s late game Roma host Inter Milan and former coach Luciano Spalletti at the Stadio Olimpico.

AFP

UCL: Juventus Ready For Sevilla Clash

juventusJuventus and Sevilla will be hoping to leave their domestic woes behind as they meet in the Champions League Group D clash in Turin.

Both teams have had a difficult start to the season domestically, but put in a more positive performance in the Champions League.

Juventus opened with a 2-1 victory at Manchester City, while Sevilla beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-nil.

Serie A Champions, Juventus, who last season reached the Champions League final, have dropped to 15th place in the Serie A, after losing for the third time in six matches this season.

Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, said the similarities between the Bianconeri and Sevilla meant both teams would be hungry for a victory on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich Signs Vidal From Juventus

vidalGerman Bundesliga side, Bayern Munich, have confirmed the signing of Arturo Vidal after agreeing a deal believed to be €37 million fee with the Serie A champions, Juventus.

Vidal, who helped Chile to win the Copa America, signed a four-year deal with the Bavarian after successfully undergoing  medical.

Sport Director, Matthias Sammer, told reporters during the unveiling of  Vidal in Munich on Tuesday, that the Chilean signed a contract until 2019 and it contains an option for another year.

Vidal, who has 69 caps for Chile, won four consecutive Serie A titles and one Coppa Italia, as well as helping the club reach May’s Champions League final, where they were beaten by Barcelona.

“I’m very happy,” Vidal told Bayern’s official website. “This is a new step in my career and I hope I do well here. I want to help the team and win trophies. It’s a dream come true for me personally.

Vidal had been a target for the Bavarians when he joined Juve from Bayer Leverkusen for €12.5m in 2011, and Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge strongly criticised the player at the time for opting to move to Turin.

The midfielder, could make his debut in the German Supercup against Wolfsburg on Saturday.

 

Buffon And Chiellini Extend Juventus Contract

BuffonGianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini have signed new contracts with Juventus keeping them at the Serie A club until 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Buffon’s deal was due to expire by the summer of 2015, but his new contract has added 3 more years to his initially 13 years career for his club.

Chiellini, 30, had a contract until the end of this season, too, and has agreed a new deal that would keep him at the club for three additional years.

Club President, Andrea Agnelli, indicated that their leadership was key as their stay with Juventus has been helpful in bringing the club to the top.

“The fact that it will be my last contract was a factor, but I’m not worried about that: I feel energised. As both parties wished to continue, it was the natural choice to extend my contract for another two years. I’ll need energy and courage to make my career last even longer,” Buffon said.

Chiellini also showed his satisfaction by vowing to keep giving his all for the club

Buffon has won five Serie A titles with Juventus, plus two which were taken off the club as part of the 2006 match-fixing scandal.