Mattia Perin

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Juventus goalkeeper Perin fails medical in Benfica move

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Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who has struggled with injuries in the past, has failed a medical ahead of a proposed $17 million move to Benfica.

The 26-year-old Italian international, who only joined Juventus last summer from Genoa, landed in Portugal last night ready to complete the singing of a five-year contract, but the shoulder injury he suffered back in April proved worrying to Benfica who said he would need up to four months of recovery in a club statement announcing the failed medical.

The statement said the Portuguese club was still interested in completing the transfer once the player has healed, and reports state he will return to Turin to continue treatment and rehab before making the move in the winter.

Perin spent most of last season backing up Wojciech Szczesny, and with the return of Gianluigi Buffon as backup, Perin found himself in the middle of even more competition. At 26 years old and with two international caps to his name, Perin is wise to seek more playing time to further his career.

Perin has struggled at times in his career with injuries, including tears of his ACL in both knees at separate times less than a year apart.

Benfica has three goalkeepers currently on its roster, with last year’s starter Odysseas Vlachodimos backed up by 22-year-old Ivan Zlobin and 19-year-old Mile Svilar. 24-year-old Bruno Varela was loaned out to Ajax this summer.

Serie A and La Liga Sunday roundup: Atletico falls to Villarreal, Juventus draws Sampdoria

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While only two Premier League fixtures transpired this weekend, plenty of notable play happened in Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.

Atletico Madrid lost their very first home match of the year to Villarreal, 1-0, and a negative result, like this, last occurred when Barcelona downed Diego Simeone’s crew in May 2013.

In the 85th minute, 21-year-old Luciano Vietto gathered the ball from Moi Gomez and managed to dance past star center back Diego Godin near the edge of the penalty area; the youngster then utilized open space to expedite a nice finish into the back of the net.

Atletico’s best chance of the match arose on Mario Mandzukic’s header, which was controversially called a foul in the 58th minute. Even though some may call this outcome surprising, Villarreal stood in great form (four straight league wins) preceding this contest.

To Serie A: First-place Juventus’s point advantage over second-place Roma narrowed when the Wolves blanked Genoa, 1-0, while Juve only mustered a 1-1 draw vs. Sampdoria.

Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin was shown an exit in the 29th minute, and with just 10 men, freshly-subbed net minder Eugenio Lamanna didn’t disappoint, stuffing a penalty from Adem Ljajic.

In the 40th minute, Maicon delivered a cross that facilitated Radja Nainggolan’s wonderful volley for the competition’s single goal, and in the remaining 50 minutes, Roma didn’t run into many difficulties, sans a fortunate offside call on Tomas Rincon’s score.

Over to Turin, Patrice Evra buried a well-executed header off Claudio Marchisio’s corner kick to snatch a brisk lead for the Zebras in the 12th minute.

Unable to convert offensive chances for the better result, Manolo Gabbiadini came off the bench and whipped a deep curling attempt to equalize in the 51st minute.

Other Serie A results

Udinese 1-2 Verona

Parma 0-0 Cagliari

Cesena 1-4 Fiorentina

Milan 2-0 Napoli

La Liga Results

Espanyol 2-1 Granada

Sevilla 0-0 Eibar

Real Sociedad 1-1 Atheltic

Mario Balotelli excluded from Italy squad prepping for Euro 2016 qualifiers

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New Italy boss Antonio Conte has named his roster for upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Malta, but striker Mario Balotelli, who has been considered one of Italy’s more dynamic forwards, didn’t make the cut again.

And this action arrived after Brendan Rogers decided to nix the Italian from his usual starting XI in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over West Brom earlier today.

Balotelli was also excluded from his country’s friendly vs. the Netherlands and Euro qualifier against Norway in September.

Conte has added a fresh face to replace the 24-year-old striker in the forward rotation. His name is Graziano Pelle and he’s enjoyed a great beginning to the season, scoring five goals in eight games so far this season. Pelle is a huge reason for Southampton’s early year success.

On the defensive side, youngster Daniele Rugani received his very first call-up to the senior team, and the Blues highest-capped defender, Juventus man Giorgio Chellini, is unsurprisingly set to star for his country.

Below is the complete roster, via ESPN FC.

Goakeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).

Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan), Daniele Rugani (Empoli).

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Giacomo Bonaventura (AC Milan), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Poli (AC Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain).

Forwards: Mattia Destro (Roma), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Borussia Dortmund), Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Inter Milan), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Sassuolo).

Update: Gianluigi Buffon to miss Italy clash with England

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Earlier today, the news broke that Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had injured his ankle during training, and needed tests to determine whether he would be able to start against England.

The reports are in, and the news isn’t good for the azzurri. The ‘keeper, who’s been first-choice for his country for over a decade, will sit out Italy’s first match.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli first described the injury as a light twist, but after undergoing physiotherapy, the injury was revealed to be more serious than previously thought. There is no word yet on whether Buffon will be available for the game against Costa Rica next Friday, or the final group stage game, against Uruguay, next Tuesday.

In absence of Buffon, Prandelli will deploy Salvatore Sirigu between the sticks. Sirigu has experience at the highest levels, as the starting goalkeeper for Paris Saint-Germain, but he’s also been dealing with injury. His bruised ribs aren’t enough to prompt Italy to turn to Mattia Perin, however. The 21-year-old, who plays for Genoa, has yet to be capped for Italy.

Italy are also without Riccardo Montolivo, who broke his leg in the warm-up match against Ireland and had to be cut from the squad, and Mattia De Sciglio, who was injured in training earlier in the week. Without three of their expected starting XI, will Italy stumble? Or are they strong enough to overcome England?

Buffon a doubt for Italy against England

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When fans of gli azzurri hear the words “Gigi Buffon injury,” icy shivers travel up and down their spine. The goalkeeper has been with the Italian national team since 1997, becoming first choice in 2002 and was between the sticks when they lifted the World Cup in 2006. The current captain is so revered that his nickname is “San Gigi.”

In 2006, Buffon conceded just two goals, keeping five clean sheets during the tournament. But in 2010, he suffered injury and was replaced during halftime of Italy’s first match. The azzurri went on to finish last in their group.

In other words, fans of Italy really, really don’t want Gianluigi Buffon injured.

They’ll be waiting with baited breath throughout the day. Buffon twisted his ankle in training, and is currently undergoing tests to determine if he’ll miss out on the match against England. While the injury at first seemed slight, there are now fears he has done damage to his knee as well.

In absence of San Gigi, Italy have two viable alternatives. Salvatore Sirigu moved from Palermo to Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, and has been solid for the French champions ever since. Also available is Mattia Perin who, at age 21, appears the heir apparent to Buffon’s gloves. But his youth will likely go against him and, should Buffon not be available, it’s almost certain Sirigu will start.

Italy fans will be hoping it doesn’t come to that. Group D, with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica, certainly looks much stronger than the group they were drawn into in South Africa. The loss of their first-choice goalkeeper – and captain, the man that marshalls the not-always-airtight defense – could be devastating.