Tag Archives: antonio

Mirko Vucinic scores and takes off his shots as Juventus close in on title after 2-1 win over Pescara

That's pants! Vucinic takes his shorts off in celebration as Juve close in on the title

PUBLISHED:

22:47 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 6 April 2013

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Juve

Juventus continued their march towards back-to-back Serie A titles with a 2-1 win over Pescara in Turin.

The Bianconeri were made to wait for their latest success, which moves them 12 points clear of second-placed Napoli, with Mirko Vucinic firing in a 72nd-minute penalty after Giuseppe Rizzo saw red.

Vucinic added the second moments later and was promptly substituted by boss Antonio Conte ahead of the midweek Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich.

Unique celebration: Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic waves his shorts as he celebrates after scoring against Pescara

Unique celebration: Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic waves his shorts as he celebrates after scoring against Pescara

Mirko Vucinic

Mirko Vucinic

Off they come: Vucinic takes his shorts off after scoring and waves them over his head

Spot on: Vucinic scores his penalty

Spot on: Vucinic scores his penalty

But Juve were made to sweat as Emmanuel Cascione curled in a stunning effort – Pescara's first shot on target – with seven minutes left.

Rolando Bianchi's stoppage-time equaliser grabbed a 2-2 draw for Torino at Bologna.

Nearly there: Juventus' players celebrate winning against Pescara and closing in on the title

Nearly there: Juventus' players celebrate winning against Pescara and closing in on the title

Paulo Vitor Barreto sent Torino ahead on 25 minutes but Bologna looked like they had grabbed the game away after the break.

Panagiotis Kone levelled on 65 minutes before substitute Tiberio Guarente seemingly won it with four minutes left. But Bianchi popped up late to share the points.

Bebe of Manchester United set for Rio Ave loan deal

Manchester United misfit Bebe set for Rio Ave loan deal

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UPDATED:

20:28 GMT, 26 December 2012

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Portuguese side Rio Ave are confident of tying up a loan deal for Manchester United misfit Bebe.

The 22-year-old striker, who joined United for 7.4m, had an unsuccessful spell on loan at Besiktas last season.

Rio Ave president Antonio Silva Campos said: ‘He is one of the players who should be just hours away from joining but there are still some details left to address. His signing could be announced very shortly.’

Rio Ave are fifth but 14 points behind leaders Benfica.

Bebe joined Manchester United from Portuguese side Vit Guimaraes in 2010 and looks set for a return to his homeland.

The 22-year-old has found it hard to get a look in this season with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and new-signing Robin van Persie all ahead of him in the pecking order.

Didier Drogba will not be going to Juventus, according to their manager Antonio Conte

Drogba not going to Juve: Conte rejects a move for the Ivorian

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UPDATED:

00:11 GMT, 17 December 2012

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has ruled out making an approach for former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in the transfer window.

A report in the Gazzetta dello Sport today suggested Juve had made 'significant progress' with an approach for the Shanghai Shenhua forward, who made an appearance at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, who could be tempted back to Europe after failing to settle in China.

Untrue: Juventus manager Antonio Conte (right) has rejected claims that he is lining up a bid for Didier Drogba in January

Untrue: Juventus manager Antonio Conte (right) has rejected claims that he is lining up a bid for Didier Drogba in January

Juventus' coach Antonio Conte blows a kiss to the crowd

The Serie A champions have also been linked with Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, but Conte insists Juventus are in no financial position to sign 'top players'.

Following today's 3-0 victory over Atalanta, he told the Corriere dello Sport: 'Speaking about the transfer market seems a bit disrespectful to my current players, who have showed great desire and dedication to my ideas over the last year.

'We are just fine keeping our feet on the ground. This is a difficult time given the current economic climate, not just for Juve but for all the other clubs.

Unsettled: Drogba (pictured) has failed to adjust to life in China and is seeking a move back to Europe. His appeal to FIFA for an emergency loan move back to Chelsea was rejected last month

Unsettled: Drogba (pictured) has failed to adjust to life in China and is seeking a move back to Europe. His appeal to FIFA for an emergency loan move back to Chelsea was rejected last month

Suited and booted: Didier Drogba made an appearance at the SPOTY awards

Suited and booted: Didier Drogba made an appearance at the SPOTY awards

'I won't be bringing in any top players because we don't have the means to support them.

'We have to make the most of what we have, we have to work hard and try to improve our current players into top players.

'Some have already got there and some will become great.'

Juventus will lead the Serie A table going into the new year as Conte looks to win a second Scudetto in just two years of stewardship in Turin, with the Bianconeri also through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Top: Juventus will be top of Serie A at Christmas, seven points clear of Inter Milan

Top: Juventus will be top of Serie A at Christmas, seven points clear of Inter Milan

Champions League week five guide

Ultimate guide to Champions League week five… who can qualify for the last 16

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UPDATED:

19:48 GMT, 19 November 2012

In the the penultimate week of the Champions League group stage there is plenty to be decided. Sportsmail looks at which teams have already qualified and who is at risk of an early elimination.

Group A

There have been no surprises in this group and Portuguese champions Porto are already through. Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain only need a draw on Wednesday against Dynamo Kiev to qualify for the next round.

Next fixtures: November 21

Porto v Dinamo Zagreb
Dynamo Kiev v PSG

Aiming high: Zlatan Ibrahimovic can fire PSG to the last 16

Aiming high: Zlatan Ibrahimovic can fire PSG to the last 16

Group B

Arsenal's group is still wide open. Two points separate the top three,
with Schalke on eight points, Arsenal on seven and Olympiacos on six.
The Gunners' have to travel to Greece to play Olympiacos in their last
group match so will see the game at the Emirates against Montpellier,
who are having a poor season in the bottom half of the French league and
with only one point in the Champions League, as one they need to win.
If they do that and Schalke beat Olympiacos both teams will go through.

Next fixtures: November 21

Arsenal v Montpellier
Schalke v Olympiacos

Up in the air: Santi Cazorla and Co are currently second in Group B

Up in the air: Santi Cazorla and Co are currently second in Group B

Group C

Anderlecht can overtake Milan into second spot if they win, who equally will qualify and knock their Belgian opponents out if they win and Zenit don't get anything against Malaga. The Spanish side only need one point to win the group.

Next fixtures: November 21

Zenit v Malaga
Anderlecht v Milan

Sticky spot: Antonio Nocerino and AC Milan face a tough match against Anderlecht

Sticky spot: Antonio Nocerino and AC Milan face a tough match against Anderlecht

Group D

City must win against Real Madrid to avoid crashing out in the group stage for a second successive year, but they are unbeaten in 19 European matches at home. Dortmund, like Real Madrid, need only a point to go through.

Next fixtures: November 21

Ajax v Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City v Real Madrid

Dangerman: Everyone's eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo when he returns to Manchester

Dangerman: Everyone's eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo when he returns to Manchester

Group E

If Chelsea beat Juventus in Turin then they'll qualify for the next round, but they've only one once in eight visits to Italy. If they draw and Shakhtar beat Nordsjaelland then it will go down to the final matches.

Next fixtures: November 20

Nordsjaelland v Shakhtar
Juventus v Chelsea

Battle: Chelsea need to avoid defeat against Juventus to preserve their Champions League hopes

Battle: Chelsea need to avoid defeat against Juventus to preserve their Champions League hopes

Group F

If BATE fail to win against Lille then the victor of Bayern Munich against Valencia will go through. The Belarusian side have only ever won one Champions League match, but it was against Lille in September.

Next fixtures: November 20

BATE Borisov v Lille
Valencia v Bayern Munich

Head to head: Bayern Munich take on Valencia and could progress if results go their way

Head to head: Bayern Munich take on Valencia and could progress if results go their way

Group G

Celtic are almost in the next round – a win against Benfica will send them through but even a score-draw will be enough if Spartak Moscow don't win against Barcelona, who will go through with a draw.

Next fixtures: November 20

Spartak Moscow v Barcelona
Benfica v Celtic

On the cusp: Lionel Messi's Barca side just need a draw to progress

On the cusp: Lionel Messi's Barca side just need a draw to progress

Group H

Manchester United are already through with four wins in four, but second place is up for grabs. Galatasaray and Cluj are on four points and Braga have three. The Turkish side are top of their domestic league but lost surprisingly last Friday and drew the match before that and haven't won in two. Defeat for Braga and they're out.

Next fixtures: November 20

Galatasaray v Manchester United
Cluj v Braga

Easy: Manchester United are through with four wins from four

Easy: Manchester United are through with four wins from four

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – history of the Sweden striker

Ibrahimovic the maverick: Martial arts expert, star of France's Spitting Image… with a trademark on his own name

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UPDATED:

10:47 GMT, 15 November 2012

Perhaps it should not be a surprise that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was capable of the gravity-defying athleticism that helped him score one of history's greatest goals against England. After all, he has been a black belt in taekwondo since his teens.

The Swede was just 17 when he received the accolade at his local sports club, Enighet, in Malmo. He even earned honorary membership of the Italian taekwondo team during his career at AC Milan.

Since then, his career has been littered with spectacular acts utilising the combat techniques and self-defence he learned in his early life.

Zlatan’s flexibility is one of his greatest assets on the football field and it also helped him reach up to kick team-mate Antonio Cassano in the head.

The then-AC Milan bad boy was conducting a TV interview when Zlatan popped by and gave him a friendly shoeing.

That he managed to get his foot so high is testament to his balance. That he used his reach for such nefarious means is testament to his character.

From the wonderful goals to the random kicks of team-mates during training and live TV interviews, before Wednesday's piece de resistance, the audacious 30-yard propeller kick that was his, and Sweden's, fourth in a 4-2 win.

The breathtaking goal comes, though, less than two weeks after he was sent off in a Ligue 1 game for Paris St Germain attempting to pluck a ball out of the sky, with his feet more than two metres from the ground.

Zlatan also made headlines in Italy when he kicked team-mate Antonio Cassano during the Italy international's chat with pitchside reporters. And so it goes on…

So here, Sportsmail lifts the lid on one of modern football's most enigmatic stars.

Jumping for joy: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one of history's great goals in the win over England

Jumping for joy: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one of history's great goals in the win over England

STRAIGHT TALKING

When a female reporter jokingly suggested he was gay, Ibra retorted: 'Come to my house and you’ll see if I’m gay. And bring your sister.'

When a piece of skill left then-Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz for dead: 'First I went left, he did too. Then I went right, and he did too. Then I went left again and he went to buy a hot dog.'

When asked if he had found a house in Paris following his move to PSG: 'We are looking for an apartment. If we don’t find anything, then I’ll probably just buy the hotel.'

When asked to which other sportsman he should be compared: 'I'm like Muhammed Ali. When he said he would knock someone out in the fourth round, he did it.'

The simple stuff

Zlatan was born in Malmo, southern Sweden, to Sefik Ibrahimovic and Jurka Gravic, but his parents divorced when he was two. His family suffered from both alcohol and drug abuse, and the precocious talent found himself embroiled in shoplifting and other petty crimes.

He admitted: 'I was a savage, a lunatic and I couldn’t control my temper.' Arguably not much has changed.

Cold-hearted thieves

Although Zlatan’s macho posturing is the side of him we are more familiar with, this touching excerpt from his autobiography might make you think a little differently about the big man.

‘I got a bike when I was little, a BMX. I called it “Fido Dido” after the tough little cartoon guy with spiked hair,’ he wrote. ‘I thought he was the coolest thing ever.

'The bike got stolen outside of the Rosengard swimming baths and Dad went there with his shirt open and sleeves rolled up. He’s the kind of person that says: “No one touches my kids! No one takes their stuff”.

‘But not even a tough guy like him could do anything about it. Fido Dido was gone, and I was crushed.’

Happy birthday: Zlatan and wife Helena Seger

Happy birthday: Zlatan and wife Helena Seger

The best gift of all

The striker was asked what he had bought his wife for her birthday. Nonplussed, he replied: ‘Nothing, she already has Zlatan.’ It’s difficult to argue with that.

That’s my name, don’t wear it out
If you had any doubt about Zlatan’s knowledge of his own worth, this will set you straight – he has trademarked his own name.

In 2003 the striker applied for a ‘community trademark’, which is valid across the EU, on ‘Zlatan’ and ‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic’.

This applies to sporting goods, beer and more, with anybody’s use of the term ‘Zlatan’ in these contexts ‘most likely being perceived as (relating to) Zlatan Ibrahimovic’.

Spoiling for a fight

In training at Juventus he was involved in a couple of bust-ups. First he punched defender Jonathan Zebina in the face after suffering a bad tackle. Then he fouled Oguchi Onyewu, who did not take kindly to it – the pair had a major scrap.

Ibra spoke about the incidents: ‘Zebina went down immediately, not like that animal of an American, who’s big like me.' It later transpired that he had one of his ribs broken by Onyewu in the altercation.

Zlatan doesn't do auditions

He explained how he met Arsene Wenger and nearly joined Arsenal in 2000, but changed his mind when asked if he would have a trial there.

‘Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey – the No 9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it and I was so pleased I even posed for a picture wearing it,’ he said.

‘It was a fantastic moment for me. Arsenal had a great team then and here was an Arsenal shirt made just for me. So then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal. But he didn’t even try.

‘He never actually made me a serious offer, it was more, “I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial”. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “No way, Zlatan doesn’t do auditions”.’

He ended up signing for Ajax.

What a nice man

In 2007 he opened a football arena in his home district of Rosengard in Malmo, where he used to play during his childhood. The pitch was created out of recycled athletics shoes. But in true Zlatan style the entrance carries a melodramatic inscription which read: ‘Here is my heart. Here is my story. Here is my play. Take it further. Zlatan.’

Hero: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the captain, leader, legend of the Swedish national team

Hero: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the captain, leader, legend of the Swedish national team

Need for Speed

‘I always drive like a madman. I got to 325kmph (202mph), leaving the police behind. I’ve done so many silly things I daren’t think about now,’ wrote Zlatan in his book.

He also caused trouble by driving one of his fast cars to work.

Zlatan said: ‘Barca players were banned from driving their sports cars to training. I thought this was ridiculous – it was no one’s business what car I drive – so in April, before a match with Almeria, I drove my Ferrari Enzo to work. It caused a scene.’

Barca breakdown

It was clear that Zlatan was not content with being a cog, even as part of the best machine in the world. His fractious relationship with Guardiola came to a head when he went face-to-face with the Spaniard and told him he had no balls.

Zlatan explained: ‘Guardiola was staring at me and I lost it. I thought “there is my enemy, scratching his bald head!” I yelled to him: “You have no balls!” and probably worse things than that.'

Read all about it: I, Zlatan

Read all about it: I, Zlatan

His confrontations with and comments about Guardiola are endless. Zlatan often compared Jose Mourinho, whom he loved, with Pep.

‘You are s***ting yourself because of Jose Mourinho. You can go to hell!’ he told his boss.

Zlatan also tried to intimidate the tactician. ‘I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box,’ he said. ‘I’m not violent, but if I were Guardiola I would have been frightened.’

I, Zlatan

Zlatan’s autobiography was described as ‘the height of self-indulgence’. And for good reason – titled I Am Zlatan (also known as I, Zlatan) it gave him a platform to display his astonishing arrogance without constraint.

The book has been shortlisted for the Swedish equivalent of the Booker Prize and is expected to shift 'hundreds of thousands' when issued in French next month. In contrast, Rooney's book has sold only 6,000 in 7 weeks.

Getting slappy on the sly

A
hot-tempered Zlatan slapped Aronica Salvatore and tried to make it look
like it occurred while he was simply putting his arm around Antonio
Nocerino. It confused Aronica, who hit Nocerino in response, but not the
referee, who promptly red carded the protagonist.

From Paris, with love

After
Zlatan moved to Paris St-Germain in the summer he was asked whether or
not he had found somewhere to live in the French capital.

He responded: ‘We are looking for an apartment. If we don’t find anything, then I’ll probably just buy the hotel.’

The extravagant striker didn’t seem very well prepared for his move. When asked what he knew about the league he was moving to he said: ‘It’s true I don’t know that much about the players here in Ligue 1… but they definitely know who I am.’

French fancy: Ibrahimovic has proved a big hit since moving to Paris from AC Milan in August

French fancy: Ibrahimovic has proved a big hit since moving to Paris from AC Milan in August

Puppet master

Zlatan has taken Paris by storm since his move from Milan in August. He had his own puppet on their nightly version of Spitting Image, an honour it tends to inflict on presidents, politicians and pop culture stars.

It is ultra-violent, only speaks of himself in the third person, eats horse heads and entire pigs for breakfast, and comes home to his wife by handing her a mop and saying, 'clean my house, then I will Zlatan you'.

In one sketch, the puppet touts a cologne, 'Eau de Zlatan', made from concentrated Zlatan sweat.

One French television show plays the Darth Vader theme music when it reports on the hotshot striker

And only last week, the editor of the French OED was asked on national TV if he would consider including the verb 'Zlataner' in the next edition. The word has passed into general use, describing nailing something, or destroying it.

Let the football do the talking

For all the lazy lines about him being a ‘bully’ who only scores in small-time games and can’t cope against English opposition, how was Wednesday night for a riposte

His long-range bicycle kick which ended the match summed him up. Incredible and preposterous in equal measure.

And while in his youth at Ajax he showed Messi-like composure to fool an entire defence and net another of those hailed among the best ever.

Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United"s dressing room joker, says Paul Pogba

Fearsome Fergie No, he's United's dressing room joker, says Pogba

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UPDATED:

15:41 GMT, 12 November 2012

Forget hairdryer histrionics, Sir Alex Ferguson is actually Manchester United's dressing room joker, according to former midfielder Paul Pogba.

Ferguson claimed Pogba was being disrespectful by leaving United in the dark over a new contract before he quit Old Trafford in favour of a 20,000-a-week four-year deal with Juventus.

The France Under 20 international has made an impressive start to life in Italy but has revealed life under Fergie wasn't all that bad, despite his fearsome reputation.

Heads up: Pogba has scored two goals for Juventus this season

Heads up: Pogba has scored two goals for Juventus this season

He told Tuttosport: 'No, He is kind of relaxed and he’s a guy who likes to laugh in the dressing room. Of course you see him on TV all serious, but knows how to be in the dressing room.

'Well, sometimes he shouts, but it is normal for a coach to do so. But it was not always the case; he is more often than not relaxed.'

Meanwhile, Pogba has revealed that Juventus' head coach Antonio Conte is a tougher character than former boss Fergie.

Pogba has been forced to apologise for showing up late to training twice last week.

And Conte's reaction to his poor timing keeping left Pogba reeling, and insisting he will not make the same mistake ever again.

He said: 'I was wrong and I'm sorry for what happened. I apologise because I showed a lack of respect toward my team-mates and (head coach Antonio) Conte.

Acrimonious: Pogba and Fergie have differing views on his United exit

Acrimonious: Pogba and Fergie have differing views on his United exit

Acrimonious: Pogba and Fergie have differing views on his United exit

'The coach is tougher than Ferguson
during training. He asks full attention and I like that. It is the only
way to be successful.

'I never had the intention to show up late. That I was late for training was down to some trivial things. I made a mistake.

'I realise that I was wrong though, and I will do my utmost to make sure I do not make the same mistake again. I will not be late again in the future. The matter is closed now as far as I’m concerned.'

The 19-year-old has made six league appearances for Juventus this campaign and scored twice.

United front: Pogba was just beginning to break into the senior squad when he decided to leave for Juve

United front: Pogba was just beginning to break into the senior squad when he decided to leave for Juve

Juventus lose unbeaten record after 49 games to Inter Milan

49…. and out! Juventus' unbeaten Serie A run comes to an end at hands of Inter Milan

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UPDATED:

22:53 GMT, 3 November 2012

What is it about the number 49 Arsenal's invincibles powered to just that figure before being toppled by Manchester United.

And now Juventus have lost to their Scudetto rivals Inter Milan after reaching the same amount of games without suffering defeat.

This is the first time Antonio Conte's side have ever lost a game at the Juventus Stadium, which was opened on September 8 2011.

Gone: Juventus players mope after losing their record

Gone: Juventus players mope after losing their record

Punisher: Inter hitman Diego Milito struck twice

Punisher: Inter hitman Diego Milito struck twice

The Serie A champions earned the title last year by winning 23 and drawing 15 of their 38 matches.

Winning nine of their first ten fixtures this season showed they had no intentions of slowing down.

And they couldn't have asked for a better start when they took the lead after one minute with an offside goal.

Marko Vucinic played in Kwadwo Asamoah – who was a yard beyond of the last defender – and his low cross-shot was turned in by Arturo Vidal.

But Inter had no plans to let the Old Lady hit 50.

Great start: Arturo Vidal struck in the first minute

Great start: Arturo Vidal struck in the first minute

Fist pump: Milito celebrates as Juve's record come to the ground

Fist pump: Milito celebrates as Juve's record come to the ground

Diego Milito was fouled in the penalty area and slammed home the resultant spot kick.

He struck again 15 minutes later after Buffon parried a Freddy Guarin drive.

Rodrigo Palacio sealed the deal when he pounced late on and secure a fully deserved win for Inter.

Juventus' run started at the back end of the 2010-11 season, with a 2-2 draw against Napoli.

They remain top of the division from the side who turned them over, but how much damage will this do to the Bianconeri mentally

When Arsenal lost their footing against United in October 2004-05 they conceded the title to London rivals Chelsea.

Stretch: Gianluci Buffon is beaten

Stretch: Gianluci Buffon is beaten

Perhaps the greatest shame for Juventus is that unlike Arsenal, they did not topple their country's record for unbeaten consecutive league games.

Fabio Capello's AC Milan side hold that, an astonishing 58 games unbeaten between May 1991 and March 93, winning three Scudettos between 92 and 94.

No matter how great the achievement of 49 games without losing, not beating the Rossoneri's record will rankle.

Manchester City and Liverpool worry for Theo Walcott as Juventus enter bids

EXCLUSIVE: City and Liverpool on alert as Conte orders Juventus to bid for Walcott

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UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 23 October 2012

Juventus are ready to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for Theo Walcott after Antonio Conte urged his bosses to enter the bidding for the Arsenal forward.

Sportsmail understands Conte is a huge admirer of Walcott’s pacey, direct style and has earmarked a role for him on the right of a front three at the Juventus Stadium.

Wanted man: Theo Walcott is the final year of his contract with Arsenal

Wanted man: Theo Walcott is the final year of his contract with Arsenal

Alerted by the deadlock over contract
talks at The Emirates, Juve have been monitoring Walcott’s form for the
best part of a year and closely following movements from other
interested parties.

Conte is convinced the 23-year old England flyer is the answer to his search for a right-sided attacker and has put him ahead of Manchester United winger Nani on his list of priorities.

The Juve coach is confident of pipping Arsenal for Fernando Llorente, after drawing up a provisional contract for the Athletic Bilbao striker worth 145,000 a week, and wants Walcott to operate on the right of him.

As Serie A leaders and reigning champions, he believes a revitalised Juventus may appeal to Walcott, who turned down Arsenal’s five-year 75,000-a-week offer in August and is now in the final 12 months of his current contract.

He is thought to be looking for 100,000 a
week, which would be well within range for Juventus, given the terms
promised to Llorente.

Get him: Juventus coach Antonio Conte wants to strengthen his ranks with Walcott as well as Fernando Llorente, who himself is being tracked by Arsenal

Get him: Juventus coach Antonio Conte wants to strengthen his ranks with Walcott as well as Fernando Llorente, who himself is being tracked by Arsenal

Get him: Juventus coach Antonio Conte wants to strengthen his ranks with Walcott as well as Fernando Llorente, who himself is being tracked by Arsenal

The one ray of hope for Liverpool is a suggestion that Conte’s enthusiasm for recruiting Walcott may not be shared within the Turin club’s boardroom, following close scrutiny of scouting reports on performance levels that have varied over the past 12 months.

Paris St Germain are also keen and could, along with Juventus, open talks on a pre-contract agreement in January.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte will still sit out Chelsea tie despite touchline ban reduced

Juventus coach Conte will still sit out Chelsea tie despite touchline ban reduced

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UPDATED:

19:25 GMT, 5 October 2012

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte will return to the touchline in December after having his lengthy suspension from football reduced by six months.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) suspended Conte for 10 months in August for his alleged failure to report two incidents of match-fixing while in charge of Siena during the 2010-11 Serie B season.

Appeal: Juventus coach Antonio Conte

Appeal: Juventus coach Antonio Conte

A subsequent appeal to the Federal Court of Justice failed, but Conte's lawyers' move for acquittal by Italy's sporting arbitration court (TNAS) has resulted in a reduction of six months, allowing Conte to take charge of Juventus' Serie A game at Palermo on December 9.

The terms of Conte's ban have allowed him to coach his players during the week, but prohibit any touchline activity, with Juve technical director Massimo Carrera forced to assume interim control of the Italian champions on matchdays.

In September, a FIFA committee extended Conte's suspension worldwide, denying him the chance to manage in the Champions League.

The 43-year-old will therefore miss out on making his management debut in the competition this calendar year, as Juve's last group game against Shakhtar Donetsk takes place on December 5. They are scheduled to face Chelsea at home on November 21.

Conte will also have missed 15 league games by the time he returns to the bench at Palermo's Stadio Renzo Barbera in December.

This summer's wide-sweeping investigation into irregular betting patterns and incidents of match-fixing involved 45 people and 13 clubs in total.

Conte's former club Siena were handed a six-point deduction while Lecce found themselves demoted to Lega Pro for their role in the Calcioscommesse scandal.

Former Bari defender Andrea Masiello received a 22-month suspended sentence for admitting scoring a deliberate own goal in a relegation decider in exchange for payment.

Cristiano Ronaldo – the numbers

After back-to-back hat-tricks, hotshot Ronaldo now has Barcelona in his sights

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 5 October 2012

Since Cristiano Ronaldo made his Champions League debut, only Lionel Messi has scored more goals in the competition.

Most league goals since 2003-04

Lionel Messi 53
Cristiano Ronaldo 42
Didier Drogba 39
Raul 28
Karim Benzema 28
Kaka 27
Samuel Eto’o 26
Wayne Rooney 26
Ruud van Nistelrooy 26

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo has been in brilliant form - as always - this season

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo has been in brilliant form – as always – this season

Nobody in the top European leagues has scored more goals than Ronaldo domestically since he joined United in 2003.

Champions league goals since 2003-04

Cristiano Ronaldo 202
Lionel Messi 175
David Villa 165
Samuel Eto’o 157
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 145
Antonio Di Natale 142
Alberto Gilardino 140
Wayne Rooney 138
Francesco Totti 138
Fernando Torres 137

Full package: The Real Madrid man scores with both feet and even his head

Full package: The Real Madrid man scores with both feet and even his head

Ronaldo has scored 118 goals in 107 league games for Real Madrid, giving him a goals-per-game ratio of 1.1. In the Champions League, his goals-per-game record is 0.9.

24.38mph The top sprinting speed Ronaldo has recorded – pretty nippy, as Usain Bolt’s top speed is not a lot faster at 27.44.