Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Chelsea offers stadium hotel to medical staff; Zlatan launches fundraising page

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England’s National Health Service has accepted Chelsea’s offer to use the Millenium Hotel at Stamford Bridge free of charge to its personnel.

Many workers at the hospitals around Southwest London travel a great distance to work and Chelsea made the offer in order to keep fresh those taxed by the demands of coronavirus treatment.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Any workers or people presenting symptoms will not be allowed to stay in the hotel, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will cover all costs over a two-month period. After that period, the demand will be re-assessed.

From ChelseaFC.com:

The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by Chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation.

EDIT: Manchester United hero Gary Neville has since announced that his hotel is doing the same for the NHS.

Meanwhile, AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set up a fund to help the fight against COVID-19.

Ibrahimovic says it’s not about “just a video” and that funds will be “directly donated to Humanitas to help strengthen Intensive Care and First Aid at the hospitals of Rozzano / Milan, Bergamo, Castellanza (VA) and Turin.”

Italy has been hit hard by the virus. Ibrahimovic has played 304 of his 751 career club games for Serie A clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus.

Of course, the video concludes with a sly bit of classic Zlatan, “And remember: If the virus don’t go to Zlatan, Zlatan goes to the virus.”

As of post time, the page has raised $165,000 of its $1.16 million goal. The page is here.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
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MILAN — Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

Controversial late penalty helps Ronaldo, Juve to 1st leg draw at Milan

Coppa Italia
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Off-form for most of the day, Cristiano Ronaldo showed up when it mattered in earning and converting a controversial penalty in a 1-1 draw with 10-man AC Milan on Thursday in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal tie.

Red-hot Ante Rebic and Milan nearly claimed control, but couldn’t hold onto the lead after Theo Hernandez was shown his second yellow card.

The two sides meet again March 4 in Turin. The other semifinal has Napoli leading Inter Milan 1-0 at the first leg in Milan.

Ronaldo was held without a shot on target until stoppage time, and Gianluigi Buffon was Juve’s star in the loss. The veteran goalkeeper kept the Old Lady in the match with nine saves.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Rebic scored off a Samu Castillejo assist as Milan took the lead before despite the 71st minute sending off of Theo Hernandez.

The defending was less than ideal on Rebic’s goal, as the Croatian scored for the fifth time in six matches. Rebic has caught fire with regular playing time after getting little chance to show his stuff in his first 10 matches since signing on a two-year loan from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Juventus had a lot of the ball, but AC Milan ripped off far more shots in the win. They carried an 18-7 advantage when Hernandez saw his second yellow card, but finished the day witha. 21-14 margin.

An airborne Davide Calabria was, we guess, supposed to know that Ronaldo’s overhead kick would strike the back of his elbow. Bad rule, correct call. Fix it.

The goal was Ronaldo’s eighth from the spot this season.

Serie A: AC Milan extends unbeaten run since Zlatan’s arrival

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BRESCIA, Italy (AP) Ante Rebic scored his third goal in two matches, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was superb and AC Milan won 1-0 at relegation-threatened Brescia on Friday to climb into the Europa League places in Serie A.

[ MORE: Report: Man United’s list of possible new strikers revealed ]

Rebic, who scored twice in a win over Udinese last weekend, pounced on a loose ball directly in front of the goal following a cross from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 71st minute.

Since Ibrahimovic’s return to Milan over the holiday break, Milan is unbeaten with four wins and a draw across all competitions.

Donnarumma produced several difficult saves to deny Dimitri Bisoli and Ernesto Torregrossa.

Also, Milan fullback Theo Hernandez hit the crossbar in the closing minutes.

The Rossoneri moved up to sixth place, four points behind fifth-place Atalanta.

[ MORE: Solskjaer’s transfer update; positive on rebuild ]

“Our goal is to qualify for Europe,” Donnarumma said. “We’ve got to continue like this and not rest for a moment. There’s another big Italian Cup match coming up with Torino midweek and we want to reach the semifinals.

“We’ll take it one game at a time and try to keep this momentum going.”

Brescia was without Mario Balotelli, who was suspended for two matches after protesting a booking last weekend that ended up with the striker being sent off.

Brescia remained one point above last-place Genoa.

WATCH: Zlatan scores in first season start for AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores for AC Milan
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in his first start since returning to Serie A as AC Milan won 2-0 at Cagliai on Saturday.

The big Swede came off the bench at midweek, but started in place of Krzyzstof Piatek at Sardegna Arena.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Ibrahimovic slotted a Theo Hernandez pass inside the far post to join Rafael Leao on the score sheet in the win.

It was the 38-year-old’s first Serie A goal since a May 6, 2012 brace in the Derby della Madonnina with Inter Milan. He’s scored 123 times in Italy’s top flight and 57 times overall in a Milan shirt.

He posted two shots, hit the post, and was credited with two interceptions. Ibrahimovic was involved in 22 duels, winning only nine.

Milan meets SPAL in the Italian Cup on Wednesday before a visit from Udinese on Jan. 18.