Maurizio Sarri

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“Furious” Emre Can left off Juventus UCL squad

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That sound you can hear is Liverpool fans chuckling.

Emre Can has revealed he is “furious” about being left out of Juventus’ 22-man UEFA Champions League squad.

The Italian champions have left Can and Mario Mandzukic out of their UCL roster for the 2019-20 season, as Maurizio Sarri has incredible strength in-depth in his squad.

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Can, 25, left Liverpool in 2018 to join Juve and said he remained with the Turin club this summer, instead of sealing a move away, because he had been promised he would play in the Champions League this season.

“The fact that I am not in the Champions League squad is extremely shocking for me, mainly because I was promised something different last week. There were talks with other clubs [before the transfer window closed] and one of the conditions for me to stay was to be part of the Champions League squad,” Can said. “On Tuesday they phoned me and told me, in a conversation that didn’t even last a minute, that I was not on the list and they didn’t give an explanation. That does make me angry and furious because I think that I played well last season, above all in the Champions League. I really can’t understand this and will now see what I decide to do from here and I will seek talks with the club next week.”

Juve brought in Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabot, Matthijs de Ligt and Danilo over the summer, as they tried to bring in Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku but failed.

With so many midfield and attacking options at his disposal, Sarri has the likes of Sami Khedira, Ramsey, Rabiot, Blaise Matuidi and Rodrigo Bentacur ahead of Can in the pecking order and it is likely the German international will be leaving Juve in the next transfer window.

Can came on for the final 30 minutes for Juventus against Napoli at the weekend and was a regular last season as they secured their eighth-straight Serie A title.

He left Liverpool last summer and then watched them win the UCL title, and you have to say that this career move probably wasn’t the best for Can.

Juventus face Can’s former club, Bayer Leverkusen, plus Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow in the UCL group stage this season, as he will be watching on from the sidelines and on TV.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri diagnosed with pneumonia

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Juventus says coach Maurizio Sarri has been diagnosed with pneumonia.

The 60-year-old Sarri was unable to take training with the Italian champion on Monday because he has been struggling with the flu for the past week.

The club said he underwent further tests which confirmed he has pneumonia, for which specific therapy was prescribed.

Sarri left Chelsea in the offseason to take charge of Juventus. His first Serie A game in charge is at Parma on Saturday.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Man United ‘pulled the plug’ on Dybala pursuit

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Paulo Dybala has chosen Turin over Manchester.

According to a report from The Telegraph’s James Ducker, Manchester United have “pulled the plug” on their pursuit of the Argentine ace.

Dybala has been the talk of a possible swap including United striker Romelu Lukaku, but his “reluctance to leave,” his sky-high wage demands and inflated agent’s fees convinced the Premier League side otherwise.

Instead, the 25-year-old has informed his agent that he will remain with La Vecchia Signora and will report to training on Monday ahead of the 2019/2020 campaign, per La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia.

According to Ducker, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is “determined only to bring in players who are fully committed to being part of the club’s project.” It was quite clear Dybala didn’t fit the prerequisites, nor did his requests of wanting “parity with United’s top earners, such as Alexis Sanchez, David De Gea and Paul Pogba, and there are also believed to have been complications over the player’s image rights.”

Over at Old Trafford, the transfer quandary amid the deadline continues. United are desperate to offload high-wage earner and under-performer Lukaku, while being on the brink of announcing the arrival of English center-back Harry Maguire. It’s reported to be a world record, $100 million deal for the Leicester City player.

As for the South American, he will return to the Italian giants with one tough task ahead: impressing newly-appointed boss Maurizio Sarri. Last season, he lacked consistency and failed to fully synchronize with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., ending the Serie A season with a paltry five goals and four assists.

It’s quite clear Dybala will have a chance to correct that now, but like the transfer saga he left behind, his progress (or lack thereof) will garner plenty of attention.

Sarri to return against Parma; Conte against Lecce

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MILAN — The new coaches of Juventus and Inter Milan have relatively easy starts to their return to Serie A, but there are potentially crucial matches during the second weekend of the new Italian league season.

The 2019-20 Serie A fixtures were announced on Monday. Juventus starts its bid for a record-extending ninth straight league title at Parma and then faces new coach Maurizio Sarri‘s former club Napoli in Turin in the second round.

Now coached by Antonio Conte, Inter kicks off its season at home to newly promoted Lecce. That also marks Conte’s return to the Italian League.

Conte led Juventus to three straight league titles before becoming Italy coach in 2014 for two years. The Italian also had a spell in charge of Chelsea from 2016-18, leading the English club to a Premier League crown and the FA Cup title.

Conte will face former club Juventus for the first time in the Derby d’Italia the weekend of Oct. 6, in week 7 in Milan.

The Serie A season starts on Aug. 25. The first weekend also sees Napoli, which finished runner-up last season, visit Fiorentina. Roma hosts Genoa and AC Milan visits Udinese.

The first Milan derby will be in the weekend of Sept. 22, in week 4.

The season finishes the weekend of May 24, with Juventus hosting Roma, Inter away at Atalanta and Napoli at home to Lazio.

The winter break will run from Dec. 23 to Jan. 5 as last season’s experiment of following the Premier League and running through the Christmas holidays has been abandoned.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Sarri meets with Ronaldo about center forward role at Juve

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In theory, Maurizio Sarri won’t have to do much work to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to buy into his tactical plan.

“Cristiano, buddy, wanna lead a third league in scoring?”

We’re guessing he’ll sign up.

[ REPORT: De Ligt chooses Juve ]

Sarri reportedly has flown to meet with his new player, hoping to convince him to play as a center forward and take a run at the Serie A Capocannoniere. Ronaldo has played the role sparingly over the year, but operated on the left side for most of 2018-19.

Ronaldo finished five goals shy of the league lead last season playing his most league games since 2015-16. He’s led La Liga in scoring and the Premier League. From Football-Italia:

“Multiple sources including La Stampa, Corriere della Sera, Gazzetta dello Sport and more all state that Sarri and director of sport Fabio Paratici flew out to the Cote d’Azur on Friday for a face-to-face meeting with Ronaldo on his yacht. … He intends to speak to the players and adapt his tactics to fit their characteristics, starting with the MVP Ronaldo.”

The goal besides a good relationship was to convince Ronaldo to score all the goals, more or less.

Of course it’s a little less straight-forward than that. Sarri wants to win a scudetto, sure, but that’s the second target right now at Juve. We’re guessing if most fans would welcome Sarri saying the goal is the UEFA Champions League, and we know Ronaldo loves that competition.

There’s no guarantee CR7 will be able to reach the heights of 30 goals as a 35-year-old when the season ends, nor that he’ll play enough minutes in Serie A to tempt any sort of records, but most would expect him to rival anyone in the league should he play a central role in the attack.