Joao Mario leaves Lokomotiv Moscow | Football Italia

  Inter loanee Joao Mario seems set to return and thanked Lokomotiv Moscow ‘for making me feel at home during this season’.

  The Portuguese midfielder used his Instagram profile to bid his farewell to the Russian side, who seem to have failed to trigger the option to buy the player.

  “I would like to thank everyone at Lokomotiv Moscow, from the President to the coaching staff, my colleagues and the fans, for making me feel at home during this season,” he wrote.

  “It has been a pleasure to war your shirt and to fight for your colours. I’m leaving with a very positive feeling about the moments we shared together. All the best!”

  Joao Mario has played 18 games in the Russian Premier League this term, contributing one goal and five assists.

  His contract with Inter expires in June 2022.

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Crotone promoted to Serie A! | Football Italia

  Crotone have been promoted into Serie A after their 5-1 hammering of Livorno, joining Benevento in the top flight next term.

  This will be only their third ever campaign in Serie A, after finishing 17th in 2016-17 with an extraordinary comeback under coach Davide Nicola, then 18th position in 2017-18.

  The team from Calabria secured second place in Serie B with 19 wins, eight draws and nine defeats.

  Pippo Inzaghi’s Benevento had booked their spot several weeks ago and are currently 28 points clear of Crotone.

  The Pitagorici had to wait until this evening to celebrate after their 5-1 win away to Livorno, as Spezia’s failure to get all three points at Cremonese proved decisive.

  The third and final promotion spot will be awarded via play-offs.

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Bologna 3

  It was an extraordinary five-goal thriller, as Bologna went 2-0 up within five minutes, Lecce got it back to 2-2, forced a goal-line clearance, then Musa Barrow won it in stoppages.

  Click here for the full match report.


  Follow all the action as it happens from today’s SIX Serie A games on the LIVEBLOG.

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Iachini: ‘Fiorentina on right track’ | Football Italia

  Beppe Iachini believes Fiorentina are ‘on the right track’ after they secured their Serie A status for another season against Torino.

  Fiorentina went a fifth game without defeat as they beat Torino 2-0, and Iachini – who replaced Vincenzo Montella in December – was delighted with how his players turned ‘concern’ into ‘belief’.

  “We dropped some points early on in the restart, but we kept going,” he told DAZN.

  “The lads believed. They deserved to end the season calmly and they managed to do so.

  “It’s important to have reached a difficult objective such as this, but we haven’t done anything yet.

  “We had an excellent game, it wasn’t easy but we started strongly like we have in recent games.

  “The only regret is not having killed it off sooner. We had the chances to do so. We still have to work in that regard, but we’re on the right track and the lads deserve a few more points.

  “When I came here, there was so much concern. The lad restarted by doing what they needed to.

  “We have the best defence with Milan since the restart. We’ve put together a good run.”

  Federico Chiesa failed to make a goalscoring contribution, so was the coach disappointed with his performance?

  “No, we had to supply him better. We play every three days, it’s important to keep as many players fresh as possible and not run into injuries.”

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Pioli edges Gattuso in coaching battle

  Napoli and Milan played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Stadio San Paolo in a match where the tactical aspects of both teams were on display.

  The Partenopei, playing at home and high on confidence after a recent upturn in results, were not about to just let an in-form Rossoneri come into their home and dictate the play, no matter how much their manager Rino Gattuso had connections with the Lombard team. They pressed, harried and created chances that had Gigio Donnarumma being forced into save after save.

  Significantly, the attacks were coming down the right side of Milan’s defence as Andrea Conti was having another shocker at right-back, and it’s no wonder the club are linked with a number of full-backs. Somewhere Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola must have been smiling seeing his client’s value increase by the minute with showdown talks with the hierarchy at the club scheduled soon. Milan really can’t afford to let this generational talent go.

  While the youth product kept the scores level, il Diavolo took the lead completely against the run of play. Ante Rebic was once again involved and his growing influence in the team was evident yet again. It was not just that he made a forward run into space, but, like a man brimming with confidence and knowing exactly where on the pitch he could hurt the opposition, he pointed to where he required the ball to be played. Ismael Bennacer promptly obliged and the Croatian’s turn and cross was finished off by Theo Hernandez.

  Quick forward passing, skilful play and vision inside the penalty area and the chance being taken, it has become a staple of this Milan under Pioli since the re-start.

  The away side noticeably dropped at least 10 yards deeper after taking the lead, which would be to their detriment. They conceded the equaliser from a free-kick as their longstanding inability to deal with defending from set-plays came back at them.

  Lorenzo Insigne, who has found a new lease of life recently and came out and said recently that the munity the players created last November was a ‘mistake,’ whipped in the cross of a man in form. None of Milan’s players managed to clear and it was a tap in for right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

  A goal for each side, both scored by full-backs. It highlights how modern players are expected to be all-rounders, with the ability to contribute on both ends of the pitch. The days of the one dimensional footballer are long-gone.

  Stefano Pioli clearly drove home to his team to not be overawed by playing an in-form Napoli. He obviously encouraged his team to express themselves more as they came out after the interval and had the home side on the back foot. But yet again, a goal came against the run of play.

  Theo was tucked in just a bit too much, which allowed Jose Callejon the freedom on the right to pick out the intelligent run of Dries Mertens and Napoli’s all-time top goal scorer made it 125. Having recently extended his contract till 2022, the Belgian will have put great distance ahead of the rest by time his career in Napoli is at its end.

  One of the most significant ways Pioli has improved his team is in his in-game management and he showed his hand after Milan went behind. He immediately brought on Rafael Leao and Giacomo Bonaventura for the under-par Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu.

  It paid dividends as Bonaventura was fouled by Nikola Maksimovic soon after inside the box to give his team a spot kick. Napoli protested, VAR checked and Frank Kessie scored. For the second match in a row, the Ivorian made the game 2-2 and he is showing the form he displayed at Atalanta on a more consistent basis at Milan.

  There was still 20 minutes to go in the encounter, but it was clear that Milan were happy to sit back and settle for a point while Napoli pushed for a late winner. The entire Rossoneri back four was in their own penalty area, the double pivot of Kessie and Bennacer were on the edge and even Leao was forced to make a tackle or two.

  It is very rare that a Napoli manager had taken off both Insigne and Mertens in the same game, let alone at the same time, but that was exactly what Gattuso did. It was a move most likely brought by necessity rather than change in tactics, with the players having such an intense workload playing every three to four days. They aren’t machines, after all.

  Their replacements, Arkadiusz Milik and Hirving Lozano, couldn’t affect the game much. Given the constant talk about his future, one must wonder if Milik’s head is still with the club, despite scoring the winner in Napoli’s Coppa Italia final victory over Juventus.

  Milan’s backs-to-the-wall approach was made more difficult when Alexis Saelemaekers showed his inexperience by making two unnecessary fouls in quick succession and got himself sent off. But each Napoli attack was defended stoutly by Milan, and while they did get some possession, the pace of Leao could only take them so far. The fixture petered out, Milan happy enough with a point, Napoli probably feeling they deserved more.

  Speaking post-match, Pioli mentioned ‘raising the bar’ while Gattuso bemoaned his side wasting scoring chances. Milan have stepped up, staying unbeaten against Roma, Lazio, Juve and Napoli but the Partenopei need to heed Gattuso’s words. They face Barcelona in less than a month, and have to take whatever chances they get.

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De Zerbi: ‘Sassuolo have a complete squad’

  Roberto De Zerbi has claimed his renewal with Sassuolo was purely down to his happiness at the Mapei Stadium and felt the Neroverdi showed signs of ‘maturing’ against Juventus on Wednesday.

  The former Benevento coach has been praised for his work at Sassuolo and has recently signed renewed his deal with the club, but said it shouldn’t be a sign of continuity.

  “I don’t have to give signals, but to what makes me feel good and happy,” De Zerbi said at a press conference. “I’m part of a serious club and I have a strong team that are now maturing in character.

  “Yesterday’s match makes that clear.”

  Sassuolo held a press conference in the celebrations of their 100th anniversary and De Zerbi said it’s an honour to be the coach in Emilia-Romagna.

  “I’m honoured to be the coach of Sassuolo in the centenary year, but it gives me greater responsibility too.

  “We can’t stop at these results, there are 20 days to do big things, starting with the game on Saturday.”

  Sassuolo turned 0-2 to 3-2 against the Old Lady, but Alex Sandro equalised midway through the second half to make sure the two teams shared the spoils at the Mapei.

  “If I’m happy with the result depends on how you analyse it. If we look at who we had in front of us, we must be happy to get a point.

  “If we look at how the match developed and what we created, then perhaps the three points are also close to us.”

  The Neroverdi players have been linked with moves to big clubs in recent months and De Zerbi revealed it’s difficult to pick a starting line-up.

  “All the players are strong. If they ask me for a starting line-up, I say that I have at most four or five in my head, for the others, it’s about form or character.

  “I’m lucky to have such a complete squad.”

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Inter Milan striker looks to complete a move to the top fight division in Russia, as €26million is rumoured to be the fee whilst he we will be on €400,000 a week, for club side Anzhi Makhachkala.


The club have already bought a few big players as Balazs Dzsudzsak and Yuri Zhirkov have already moved there this summer, but clinching the services of Samuel Eto’o is a great achievement. Eto’o has been linked with many clubs for the past few seasons, including Chelsea, Manchester City, and teams who have found new wealth including Malaga of Spain and PSG of France. However, he looks set for the Russian club or also have been taken over by Suleyman Kerimov, who is estimated to be worth $8billion.

Samuel Eto’o seems extremely likely to join the team, and improve their team from last season, where they finished 14th. The team are currently 4th in this season’s campaign and their squad looks to be getting stronger. With Eto’o leaving Inter Milan, it looks even more likely that Carlos Tevez will be his replacement as he wants to leave Manchester City. Eto’o will be one of the highest paid footballers in the world, and this deal is to be one of the most shocking in recent seasons.

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