Juventus have been forced to cancel their traditional party at Villar Perosa for the first time in 61 years.
The Bianconeri have officially announced the cancellation of the event through a letter sent by President Andrea Agnelli to the mayor of Villar Perosa.
“I inform you with much regret, since the conditions aren’t there this year, that you will not be able to hold the traditional ‘family party’ at the sports centre of Villar Perosa,” Agnelli wrote.
“I’m sure that you will understand that the rules dictated by the COVID-19 security protocol and the new competitive calendar of 2019-20 season unfortunately don’t allow us to confirm the usual summer vernissage, an event we all care about.”
The party has been an unmissable event for the Agnelli family and the thousands of fans who attended the pitch where the last friendly usually was held before the start of the new campaign.
Juventus have commitments in the Champions League this August and furthermore must comply with the current security protocol in Italy.
Roberto De Zerbi hopes Sassuolo learn the lesson of ‘taking nothing for granted’ as they prepare to host Milan in Serie A tomorrow.
Sassuolo have lost just once since the season restarted but were held for the second game running at the weekend, drawing 1-1 with Parma despite dominating for spells.
“Nothing can be taken for granted. That’s the lesson we need to learn,” De Zerbi said at a press conference.
“I don’t know if it’ll act as a lesson because every game is different. In a match like the one against Cagliari, there’s a lot of rage if you don’t come away with all three points, but football is also like this.
“We’re on a good run, we’ve picked up from where we left off before lockdown. In these last four games, we have to take maximum points.”
The Neroverdi face a Milan side in similarly-hot form and with ambitions of Europa League qualification too.
“They have several top individuals and are doing well. We have to be absolutely wary of Pioli, who’s done an amazing job.
“We’ve scored lots of goals at Inter, Juve and Lazio and we can cause anyone problems.
“We’ll still need to rotate. Some who played at Cagliari have played for 90 minutes in 3-4 games on the trot.
“We can still qualify for Europe. It’s not easy and there are still 12 points up for grabs, but even finishing eighth would be a good result, given the teams who are near us.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirms his confrontation with CEO Ivan Gazidis. ‘If this is the situation, it’s unlikely you’ll see me at Milan next season. I am practically playing for free.’
In a snippet of the full interview Ibra gave to La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek, which is released on Saturday, the Swede tore down the club’s current chiefs.
“Ibra plays to win something or he stays at home,” he replied when asked about his future.
“They told me that retiring in America was too easy, so I came back to Milan. I am here purely for passion, because I’m basically playing for free… Then this COVID situation stopped everything and I thought, maybe there’s something trying to tell me that I should retire…
“Fortunately, we got back on the pitch. My calf managed to get involved too, but after two days I was ready to come back into the team. Ibra is like that. But they told me to take it slow.”
The 38-year-old has lost none of his verve, nor his tendency to talk about himself in the third person, but is he considering retirement?
“Ibra was born to play football and is still the best at playing football. We’ll see how I feel in two months. We’ll also see what’s happening with the club. If this is the situation, to be honest, it’s unlikely you’ll see me at Milan next season.
“Ibra is not a player for the Europa League and Milan are not a club who belong in the Europa League.”
The response was similar when questioned on those reports of the infamous face-to-face confrontation with CEO Ivan Gazidis at the training ground just before the Coppa Italia semi-final.
“I spoke for me and for the team. I needed to have some explanations on the future, both mine and of Milan. I said that this is not the Grande Milan I once experienced, that is true, but we must do the best we can even in this situation. All the way to the end.
“Ibra is here, Ibra takes care of it. I have to be here or you’ll lose the fans. I don’t know if there will be another club after Milan, I never like to close doors to opportunities.
“I will only go somewhere I have some control, not where words are worth nothing. I still have too much passion for what I do.”
Coach Stefano Pioli is getting strong results, but Milan have given up trying to deny they are in talks with Ralf Rangnick. Is Ibrahimovic impressed?