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    Torino given 3-0 loss after failing to turn up for Lazio game because they’re self-isolating after coronavirus outbreak

    TORINO were handed a 3-0 defeat after failing to turn up to play Lazio – because the team are self-isolating following a coronavirus outbreak.
    Eight Torino players and two staff members tested positive for Covid-19 with the more contagious variant detected in England identified in some cases.

    Lazio players conducted their pre-match ritual despite Torino’s squad being in self-isolationCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The club’s training ground was closed by the local health authority last Tuesday with players and coaching staff forced into isolation.
    The quarantine period ends at midnight on Tuesday night – after the game more than 400 miles away in Rome was due to finish.
    However, with the game not officially called off until 45 minutes after the scheduled kick-off time, Lazio still followed their usual matchday routine, with the club even announcing the starting line-up on social media.
    The players walked around the Stadio Olimpico pitch and some even took selfies as they waited to find out what would happen.

    Serie A’s governing body held an emergency meeting earlier in the day but voted not to postpone the match.
    Torino president Urbano Cairo hit out at the league for the decision with his side unable to travel.
    He said: “The league cannot be defended [for] not taking note of the objective reality, a reality that says we cannot move or leave the city – that’s glaringly obvious.
    “I expect things to be done logically, if you add one plus one you shouldn’t have to do a thousand steps to get to two. The only logical consequence was to postpone the game.


    Lazio tweeted out the team sheet and pre-match pictures as normal beforehand

    “Now we are waiting for the decision of the sporting judge. It is clear that we will appeal. We will make all possible appeals.”
    Torino can look to the example of Napoli from earlier in the season for hope.
    Like the Turin club, Napoli were unable to travel to play Juventus in October.
    They were handed a 3-0 loss and docked one point but the ruling was overturned on appeal by the Italian Olympic Committee after several failed attempts in other courts.
    Torino – who sit 17th in the league and just outside the relegation zone – last played on February 19, a 1-0 win over Cagliari, before the outbreak.
    Last Friday’s clash with Sassuolo has been rearranged for March 17.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    Ciro Immobile discusses the situation with the referees and match officials before it was finally scrapped 45 minutes after the scheduled kick-off timeCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Lazio were all ready to play but Torino were back home more than 400 miles away unable to travel due to a Covid-19 outbreakCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Head coach Simone Inzaghi, right, revealed his team line-up for the match and his team have been handed a 3-0 winCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Urbano Cairo, the Torino president, hit out at Serie A over their decision against postponing the matchCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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    Inter Milan and Pirelli end iconic £10m-a-year shirt sponsorship deal in blow to cash-strapped Suning Group owners

    INTER MILAN have ended their iconic shirt sponsorship with long-term partners Pirelli.
    The £10million-a-year deal with the tyre makers will not be extended beyond the current season.

    Inter Milan’s kit deal with Pirelli is coming to an endCredit: AFP

    And it brings to an end one of the most iconic partnerships in football – dating back to the 1995-96 season.
    The famous black and blue stripes with the Pirelli logo has been worn by the likes of Adriano, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the years.
    Jose Mourinho’s 2010 Champions League winning team also wore the famous strip.
    Pirelli chief executive Marco Tronchetti Provera said: “We are in talks with (Alessandre) Antonello, (Beppe) Marotta (chief executives) and other Inter directors.

    “We won’t be Inter’s kit sponsor anymore, but our relationship with the club will continue.”
    Inter sit four points clear at the top of Serie A and are on course to end Juventus’ nine-year domestic dominance.
    But the Milan side face a financial crisis off the field.
    Inter are reportedly chasing a £146m cash injection to ensure they can compete next season.


    Adriano wearing the iconic Inter kit with Pirelli logoCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Zlatan Ibrahomovic and Jose Mourinho in Pirelli Inter Milan gearCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The Italian giants won the 2010 Champions League with the logo on their shirtsCredit: AFP
    A raft of expensive transfers and the coronavirus pandemic have combined to create a financial black hole at the Italian club.
    According to the Financial Times, majority shareholders Suning Holdings have so far unsuccessfully negotiated a possible investment with a number of firms.
    Private equity group BC Partners are said to have ended talks with Inter’s Chinese owners after failing to agree on the price of an investment.
    And Suning owned Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC ‘ceased operations’ this week after failing to find new buyers.
    Suning have reportedly discussed either selling a portion of their stake in Inter, potentially at a loss, or a full takeover with a number of firms.
    The Serie A side are thought to be valued at around £785m by the group with BC Partners leaning closer to £650m.
    Should a deal fail to be agreed, the cash injection is reported as vital to Inter’s ability to compete after the summer.
    Chinese giant Suning are said to be experiencing mounting debt problems back home amid political pressure on companies directing capital out of the country to foreign businesses.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    Since buying the Milan club for £235m in 2016, Inter president Steven Zhang, son of Suning founder Zhang Jindong, has pledged millions to the transfer market.
    Achraf Hakimi, Romelu Lukaku and Nico Barella have all arrived for big fees.
    While the likes of Stefano Sensi, Valentino Lazaro and Ionat Radu have so far failed to live up to their large price tags.
    And veteran stars Christian Eriksen, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, Aleksandar Kolarov and Arturo Vidal are all expected to be on considerable wage packets.

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    Ibrahimovic extends olive branch to Romelu Lukaku after furious bust-up with former Man Utd team-mate in Milan derby

    ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC has insisted that there is ‘no personal problem’ between himself and Romelu Lukaku.
    The former Manchester United team-mates were involved in a furious bust up during their clubs’ Coppa Italia clash in January.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku clashed in JanuaryCredit: Reuters

    Zlatan addressed the media ahead of his performance at SanremoCredit: EPA

    But Ibrahimovic has played the incident down – while inviting Lukaku to join him at the Sanremo music festival.
    Zlatan is set to perform at the 60-year-old Italian extravaganza, and revealed that Lukaku would be ‘welcome’ to keep him company.
    He said: “If Lukaku came to Sanremo I would welcome him.
    “There is no personal problem.

    “What you do on the pitch stays on the pitch. If you want to come, you are welcome.”
    Ibrahimovic, 39, is set to perform Io vagabondo by Italian band I Nomadi alongside Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic, 52.
    Butchering the 1970s hit is likely to be all that Zlatan does in the coming weeks, however, having sustained a left thigh injury.
    The ill-timed knock will rule the Swede out of an emotional return to Old Trafford, when AC Milan face Manchester United in the Europa League round of 16.

    Ibrahimovic and Lukaku played together at Manchester UnitedCredit: AFP – Getty

    As well as singing, Zlatan has decided to continue his war of words with NBA superstar LeBron James over political activism in sport.
    LeBron, 36, has spoken out against police brutality in the US, as well as working tirelessly to increase voting in black communities.
    Ibrahimovic told him to stick to doing ‘what he’s good at’, before LeBron hit back: “There’s no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand this platform and how powerful my voice is.”
    The striker was subsequently branded ‘dumb as hell’ for his comments by two-time All-Star Baron Davis.
    Ahead of Sanremo, however, Ibrahimovic has doubled down, saying: “Athletes unite the world, politics divide it.
    “Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    LeBron has insisted that he will not stop using his platform for positive changeCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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    Inter Milan owners shut down Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC leaving country’s top-flight in crisis

    CHINESE football has been thrown into crisis after Super League champions Jiangsu FC ‘ceased operations’.
    The club won its first title in November thanks to goals from former European football stars Eder and Alex Teixeira.

    Jiangsu FC were crowned Chinese Super League champions in NovemberCredit: AFP or licensors

    The winner in the play-offs was scored by £43million man Alex TeixeiraCredit: AFP or licensors

    A buyer has unsuccessfully been sought by owners Suning, leading to the team being shut down.
    A statement read: “Even though we are reluctant to part with the players who have won us the highest honours, and fans who have shared solidarity with the club, we have to regretfully make an announcement.
    “From today, Jiangsu Football Club ceases the operation of its teams.
    “In the past six months the club has been looking around to seek a takeover.”

    Jiangsu’s squad includes ex-Atletico Madrid title winner Miranda and former Italy forward Eder, while one-time Liverpool target Teixeira is reportedly bound for Arabian football.
    Welsh winger Gareth Bale was the subject of an audacious bid from the club in 2019, with a contract worth £1million-a-week on the table.
    Only weeks earlier, Chinese FA Cup winners Shandong Luneng were thrown out of the AFC Champions League for ‘overdue payables’.
    Retail giant Suning are said to be suffering from mounting debt problems in China and are turning their focus to core business assets.


    Football is thought to be of decreasing interest to the government and a crackdown is underway on money leaving the country for overseas interests, such as the company’s Inter team.
    The Serie A leaders were bought for £235m in 2016 and club president Steven Zhang, son of Suning founder Zhang Jindong, has pledged millions to the transfer market.
    But talk of selling the club has continued for months with a cash injection by the summer seen as vital.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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    Man City joined by Real Madrid in Manuel Locatelli transfer race with Sassuolo midfielder, 23, starring in Serie A

    REAL MADRID have joined Manchester City in a race to sign Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
    The 23-year-old has impressed for the Serie A side so far this season as they currently occupy eighth place in the table.

    Locatelli is expected to secure a big move to a huge European club in the summerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    And while Man City appeared to be the front-runners to sign the Italian at the end of the campaign, Calcio Mercato have now reported that Madrid are also keen to secure his signature.
    At the end of the January transfer window, Sassuolo’s managing director Giovanni Carvenali commented on Man City’s interest in Locatelli.
    He said: “Being on everyone’s lips is a good thing, it means that we are doing a positive job.
    “These are all talks that we will have in the summer market.”

    Pep Guardiola is said to be keen on Locatelli replacing Fernandinho at the end of the season as the Brazilian comes towards the end of his career.
    Speaking previously about Locatelli’s future, his agent Stefano Castelnuovo confirmed the interest from Man City: “In the January transfer market Sassuolo will hardly sell the player.
    “Manchester City are one of the teams monitoring him for the next market.”

    Liverpool boast the most-valuable squad in the Premier League
    The current Premier League leaders shored up the defensive side of their game at the start of the 2020-21 campaign with the signing of Ruben Dias.
    And that has proved one of the transfers of the season as City’s resolute defence has moved them 12 points clear at the top.
    Meanwhile, Real Madrid have also been relatively solid in recent months but could be looking to freshen up their midfield as Luka Modric turns 35 years old.

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    Watch Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori’s incredible last-ditch tackle for AC Milan against Roma as he shines in win

    CHELSEA loanee Fikayo Tomori produced a sensational tackle for AC Milan against Roma as he continued to impress in Serie A.
    The 23-year-old defender, who started ahead of club captain Alessio Romagnoli, dove in front of Lorenzo Pellegrini to deny the Roma midfielder what looked to be a certain goal.

    Tomori’s challenge showcased what a superb defender he is proving to beCredit: Reuters

    AC Milan went on to edge out Roma 2-1 thanks to a penalty from Franck Kessie and a second half winner from Ante Rebic.
    The victory saw Milan close the gap to rivals Inter to four points at the top of the Serie A table.
    And Tomori shone as a bright spark for Stefano Pioli’s side as he made more passes (60) and made more clearances (six) than any other player on the pitch.
    The English defender has already made seven appearances for Milan since joining from Chelsea in the January window.

    Speaking to Sky about the possibility of making his loan move to Milan a permanent one, technical director Paolo Maldini said: “Tomori is a good talent and we have a buy-option clause.
    “The price is very high. AC Milan will decide at the end of this season and we will discuss it with Chelsea’s board.”

    The price Chelsea are asking for is reportedly £26million, a fee which could see Milan put off signing Tomori.

    Former Blues boss Frank Lampard did not favour Tomori as he featured just four times in the 2020-21 campaign before going out on loan.
    However, it remains to be seen whether new manager Thomas Tuchel will want to bed him into his team next season.
    Chelsea have looked defensively solid under the German so far, conceding just two goals in nine games.

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    Juventus ace McKennie caught appearing to ogle stunning sports reporter Diletta Leotta in hilarious viral picture

    JUVENTUS star Weston McKennie was the talk of town after a picture of him went viral over the weekend.
    The 22-year-old American was captured by TV cameras appearing to stare at the reporter

    Weston McKennie went viral on Twitter with this hilarious pic

    The 22-year-old American was captured by TV cameras appearing to be staring at Diletta Leotta’s rear endCredit: Instagram @dilettaleotta

    The broadcaster has over seven million followers on InstagramCredit: Instagram / @dilettaleotta

    McKennie was looking in the direction of sports reporter Diletta Leotta, who hosts Serie A games on DAZN.
    She was presenting from near the Juventus bench ahead of the 1-1 draw against Verona on Saturday night.
    And social media users couldn’t help but notice his face as cameras panned towards him.
    The 29-year-old reporter Diletta has hosted Serie A on DAZN since the 2018-19 season and has over seven million Instagram followers.

    The glamorous broadcaster hinted she may have found love after posting a picture of a large bouquet of flowers last month.
    And Italian magazine Chi revealed the lucky man is actor Can Yaman – 2019’s GQ Men of the Year Best Rising Actor.
    Yaman, 31, and Leotta, 29, were snapped by paparazzi in Rome and are understood to have enjoyed a romantic break together in the Italian capital where the Turkish film star was filming.

    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    She hosts Serie A games on DAZNCredit: AFP or licensors

    She found love with Turkish actor Can Yaman, 31Credit: Getty – Contributor

    Weston McKennie went viral on TwitterCredit: Twitter

    Fans noticed the expression on his faceCredit: Twitter

    Social media users flooded Twitter over the weekendCredit: Twitter

    The hilarious image went viral after Juventus’ 1-1 draw with VeronaCredit: Twitter
    Chi wrote on January 13: “Diletta Leotta and the Turkish actor Can Yaman, the new sex symbol of TV and social media, are in love.
    “They have spent five days of passion in a large hotel in the centre of Rome.
    “They exchanged kisses and effusions and the days just passed saw the birth of a new, overwhelming love.”

    American star McKennie, meanwhile, is making a name for himself after leaving Texas and moving to Schalke four years ago.
    He is currently on loan at Juventus for the season with an option to make the deal permanent.

    Stunning Italian sports reporter Diletta Leotta dating actor Can Yaman leaving millions of Instagram fans heartbroken More

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    Chelsea star Fikayo Tomori wanted by AC Milan in permanent transfer as Maldini hints at trying to reduce £27m buy option

    AC MILAN transfer chief Paolo Maldini has hinted at a permanent transfer bid for loan star Fikayo Tomori – at below the pre-agreed price.
    Chelsea sent the English defender to the San Siro in January to gain first-team experience in the Serie A title race.

    Fikayo Tomori (left) impressed in AC Milan’s win on Sunday nightCredit: Reuters

    After Milan beat Roma 2-1 on Sunday, 23-year-old Tomori came in for huge praise in only his fifth start for the team.
    And talk is already turning to Italian legend Maldini trying to land his signature permanently.
    Chelsea accepted a purchase option reportedly worth £27m when sending Tomori on loan.
    Speaking after the game, Milan technical director Maldini told Sky Sport Italia: “I am lucky enough to work for a club that, when we called, he answered.

    “Milan has an effect on many players, even if we have not won at European level for 14 years.
    “As for Fikayo, he has unique assets of speed, intensity, for us he was a possible reinforcement for the rest of the season.

    “There is a very high price of purchase, we will evaluate whether to exercise it or not.

    “From that point of view the situation is clear. We have weekly talks with the players whose deals are about to expire, including [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.”
    Frank Lampard promoted Tomori to the Chelsea first-team last season but he played just 26 games in 18 months before the loan switch.
    The Premier League side hired Thomas Tuchel days later, with the German coach opting for a three-man backline that may offer the player a route into the side if he impresses in Italy.
    Former England manager and Serie A icon Fabio Capello was one of many to praise the centre-back for his performance against Roma.
    Tomori had been brought into the XI to replace club captain Alessio Romagnoli after two straight defeats knocked Milan off the top of the table.

    Milan throughout history has always been built on defence, if you have a fast player then you’re in luck.
    Fabio Capello

    The club sit second and four points behind Inter Milan, who are on a six-game winning run in the league.
    Capello said of Tomori: “As a coach I always wanted a fast defender.
    “Milan throughout history has always been built on defence, if you have a fast player then you’re in luck.
    “A fast player is so important, his recovery in the first-half on Borja Mayoral was fantastic, without making a foul.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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