Justin Kluivert

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Serie A: Napoli’s stoppage-time winner; Roma’s comeback

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ SATURDAY: Cristiano Ronaldo scores winner in his first Turin derby ]

Cagliari 0-1 Napoli

Arkadiusz Milik scored a stoppage-time winner to hand Napoli all three points and keep them within eight points of runaway leaders and presumed champions-elect Juventus.

Roma 3-2 Genoa

There is very little doubt about who will likely almost certainly win the Serie A title this season — that honor appears reserved for Juventus, for the eighth straight year — and Napoli and Inter Milan have pretty well established themselves as the second- and third-best teams, interchangeably, which leaves anywhere from three to nine teams with dreams of finishing fourth.

As things stand, five teams are within three points of fourth place, including Roma who needed a comeback (twice) to beat Genoa on Sunday and move to within two points of AC Milan for the final UEFA Champions League place. It should be noted that fourth-place Milan and fifth-place Lazio are yet to play their round-16 fixture.

A dreadful start to the season (just one win from their first five league games) has relented very little for Eusebio Di Francesco’s side which has now won just two of its last eight league games.

Krzysztof Piatek put the visitors ahead after just 17 minutes, only for Federico Fazio to level the score just after the half-hour mark. The 1-1 scoreline was short-lived, though, as Oscar Hiljemark restored Genoa’s lead in the 33rd minute. Justin Kluivert scored just before halftime, setting the stage for Roma to assume control in the second half.

Bryan Cristante smashed home the winner from just outside the penalty area, set up by Kluivert’s cushioned header, in the 59th minute.

Elsewhere in Serie A

SPAL 0-0 Chievo
Fiorentina 3-1 Empoli
Frosinone 0-2 Sassuolo
Sampdoria 2-0 Parma

Remaining Serie A schedule

Atalanta vs. Lazio — 2:30 p.m. ET (Monday)
Bologna vs. AC Milan — 2:30 p.m. ET (Tuesday)

Justin Kluivert smart to choose Roma over Man United, father says

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With a last name like Kluivert, there will always be plenty of open doors for 19-year-old Justin to explore during his professional career.

[ MORE: Pogba’s agent hits back at critics, dares Man United to sell Pogba ]

While that’s certainly an asset and an advantage that might not be afforded to every young player in the game, it also complicates things to a greater degree. Some clubs — typically the bigger ones — might fancy a player like Kluivert, the son of prolific Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, because he comes with a certain level of name recognition.

Rather than ascending so quickly and reaching the top of the game at such a young age, players without a famous name often make two or three — and sometimes more — moves up the ladder, each time rising to a new level with each new club, placing a priority on playing time and development, before landing with a Barcelona, a Real Madrid, a Bayern Munich, or a Manchester United. The more levels a player is tested and proven at before signing for one of these giants, the more certainty that exists on all sides of the transfer equation.

[ MORE: Messi not among Argentina’s Sept. call-ups; int’l future in doubt ]

Back to Kluivert, who just this summer faced this very dilemma. Man United were reportedly interested in bringing him to Old Trafford from Ajax, but thanks to his prior exposure to the inner-workings of the game — and a bit of sound advice from his father, one would assume — Kluivert choose to make a more gradual step up in competition when he signed for perennial Champions League qualifiers Roma instead.

His father, now 42 and assistant coach for the Cameroon national team, could not be more pleased with and proud of his teenage son’s maturity and decision making — quotes from Goal.com:

“I’m very satisfied with what he is doing. He doesn’t speak much, but he is someone who knows how to listen and is motivated, I would have liked to stay in Ajax for another year, but he chose for himself. I think Roma is a good solution.

“A jump to the Premier League would have been difficult… I think United would have been too big a jump. Roma is an important club, but the pressures are lower.

“Roma must not win by force and it is a club that is used to good football. It is the ideal place for Justin right now. Then, who doesn’t dream of Barcelona? But Italian football is catching up and Justin can take advantage of it.”

Those mega-clubs will still be there after Kluivert has spent a couple — or a few — years at Roma and shown he’s not only good enough to compete in the Champions League, but ready to move to club that’s competing for the Champions League.

Kluivert marked his Serie A debut with an assist in Roma’s dramatic win over Torino on Sunday. After breaking down the right wing, it was Kluivert who lofted the ball into the box and found Edin Dzeko to set up the Bosnian’s technically perfect strike in the 89th minute.

Transfer journey over, Kluivert turns his attention to Serie A

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Roma’s 19-year-old Justin Kluivert, son of Dutch legend Patrick, had an interesting time running his way through the transfer rumor mill from Amsterdam to Rome.

Some of it was his doing, too, as Kluivert gave a February interview mentioning Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, and Manchester United.

[ MORE: PST chats with Roma’s De Rossi ]

And here’s where we get an unlikely bit of blunt honesty regarding the gossip mill, often derided by players: Kluivert considered the rumors as compliments.

“You see your name a lot of times passing by, that clubs are looking at you,” Kluivert told ProSoccerTalk. “Sometimes it was true, sometimes it wasn’t. It means that you’re doing good, though.”

Kluivert chose Roma, of course, and he knows the courtship and price tag of $21 million will have eyes trained on his performance. He’s looking to build on a 10-goal, 5-assist season at Ajax, one that ranked the teenager higher than all but eight players on advanced stats site WhoScored.

“I thought a long time about my decision and I think this is the best for me, and I will give 100 percent for the club,” Kluivert said. “Nobody can do more than 100 percent so let’s see what it’ll be like. I want to be there for the team, and I think we can achieve great things and I want to contribute.”

Kluivert says he’s adjusting to life in Rome thanks to a pair of Dutch teammates in Kevin Strootman, who speaks fine Italian, and Rick Karsdorp, who acts as his food guide.

And it helps that his new, historic home has some in common with his previous one.

“I come from Amsterdam, a busy city, great people, and here in Rome the people, the fans give everything for their team and it was the same in Holland at Ajax,” he said. “That’s nice to have that here as well.”

Kluivert junior leaves Ajax for Roma in $21m transfer

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ROME (AP) — Roma signed Justin Kluivert, the son of former Milan and Barcelona forward Patrick, from Ajax on Friday for a fee that could rise to 18.75 million euros ($21.8 million).

The 19-year-old Dutch international forward has agreed a five-year contract with Roma.

“I’m very happy. I’m at an incredible club,” Kluivert said. “I cannot wait to start. I believe that Roma is the ideal team for my growth, which will allow me to play at the highest levels.”

Kluivert junior made 56 appearances and scored 13 goals for Ajax. He has one cap for the Netherlands.

He joins Roma for an initial 17.25 million euros ($20.1 million) and performance-related clauses could see the price rise by 1.5 million euros.

Transfer rumor roundup: Latest on Grealish, Kluivert; Darmian to Juve

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As Thibaut Courtois is linked with a Chelsea exit and Alisson mentioned as a replacement, the Roma goalkeeper’s agent has shot down a link to Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Zlatan displeased with LA effort ]

“The idea he already has an agreement with Real Madrid is completely false. I don’t see how Cafu could know more than I do on the matter,” he said.

So what might not be completely false? Let’s rumor run.

A sale of Jack Grealish would be helpful for Aston Villa as it looks to balance its books and avoid running afoul of Financial Fair Play.

Grealish, 22, is said to be interesting to a number of big names teams including Arsenal and Manchester United, but a $53 million price tag is said to hang from the player.

Sky Sports says Leicester City is mulling a bid for Grealish as they perceivably move on from Riyad Mahrez (linked often with a $75 million momve to Man City).

An attacking midfielder who also can operate on both wings, Grealish overcame immaturity issues to score three times and add five assists in the Championship last season.

— Di Marzio reports that Justin Kluivert, son of Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert, is set to leave Ajax for AS Roma to the tune of $17-23 million.

Justin, 19, scored 10 times with five assists in Eredivise play this season, featuring mostly on the left wing. Despite his tender age, he boasted the league’s ninth-best rating according to WhoScored.

— Manchester United may have found a buyer for right back Matteo Darmian, with Juventus ready to spend $16 million on the Italian. Darmian, 28, played every position across Jose Mourinho’s back line, but was limited to 17 appearances running 1,105 minutes last season.