Chelsea and Atletico target Muriel claims to have Juventus, AC Milan, Inter and Roma offers

The Sampdoria striker says he is the subject of interest from heavyweight outfits in Serie A, while teams in England and Spain remain keen

Sampdoria star Luis Muriel claims to have received offers from Serie A’s top sides, including champions Juventus.
The 25-year-old, who has 12 goals and nine assists in all competitions this season, has contributed to eight goals in his last seven league matches in a stunning run of form.
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The Colombia international has been heavily linked with a move to a major European side beyond this season and his contract reportedly contains a €28million release clause.
Muriel has now claimed that Juve, Inter, AC Milan and Roma have all made approaches, while clubs from the Premier League and La Liga are also interested.
“I’ve received many offers,” he told Radio Magica. “I have proposals from Juventus, Inter, AC Milan and Roma. Spanish and English clubs have been making offers as well.”
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Muriel said last month that he would consider the prospect of joining Inter, who are expected to invest heavily in the playing squad ahead of next season in a bid to mount a title challenge.

Atletico Madrid and Chelsea have also been rumoured to be monitoring the former Udinese man’s form.

Pioli delighted with seven-up Inter

Stefano Pioli felt his team put in a complete performance as they thrashed Atalanta 7-1 to stay in the Champions League hunt

Stefano Pioli urged his Inter side to build on an “exceptional” performance during the closing weeks of the season after they mercilessly dispatched Atalanta 7-1 at San Siro.
Captain Mauro Icardi and playmaker Ever Banega both hit hat-tricks as Inter leapfrogged their opponents and moved up to fourth in Serie A.
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It means the Champions League places remain a realistic proposition, with Inter six points behind Napoli and five shy of Roma before the latter host Palermo in Sunday’s late kick-off.
“This was an exceptional performance where everything we practised worked perfectly,” Inter coach Pioli told Mediaset Premium.
“It was a game of a high level and we did well to make it look easy, because Atalanta are a tough opponent and had conceded very few goals until now.
“It was a good result, but what really counts is our position in the table and that means the next match is always the most important.
“We are chasing very, very strong opponents but we have to try to win as many games as possible.”

90: FULL TIME! What. A. Performance! #InterAtalanta 7-1 #FORZAINTER pic.twitter.com/nOlWruS6DJ
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) March 12, 2017

Attention inevitably turned to his two star Argentinians but Pioli was keen to share the credit around.
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“Banega played a great match but it is really difficult to find someone who has not played at a high level,” he added.

“We think of Icardi, for example, a true champion. The collective has played as a team, showing the desire, determination and mentality to command the game.”

Hat-trick hero Icardi gunning for Champions League with Inter

A nine-minute hat-trick from the striker set Inter on course for a 7-1 demolition of Atalanta and the captain is eyeing a top-three spot

Mauro Icardi declared Inter’s push for Champions League qualification to be back on after he and Ever Banega hit hat-tricks in a stunning 7-1 thrashing of Atalanta.
Icardi’s treble came in a nine-minute first-half spell before a quickfire brace from fellow Argentinian Banega ensured 1-0 in the 17th minute became 5-0 after just 34 minutres.
Inter smash seven past Atalanta
Remo Freuler pulled one back for Atalanta before the break but Roberto Gagliardini lashed into the top corner to compound his former club’s misery and Banega clipped home a 67th-minute free-kick to complete the rout and his treble.
Inter lie five points behind third-placed Roma and six shy of Napoli in second, with the capital club visiting Palermo in Sunday’s late kick-off.
“It was the best game of the season,” a delighted Icardi told Inter’s official website after moving to 20 Serie A goals for the campaign.
“Playing against a rival like Atalanta, who are doing so well, and to play a game like that was so beautiful.
“Our goal is to try to the last for third place, then see where we are at the end of the championship.”

And you were wondering who gets to take home the matchball?!#InterAtalanta #ForzaInter pic.twitter.com/G6XX06YYPr
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) March 12, 2017

Those ambitions were checked by a 3-1 home loss to Roma two weeks ago but, with this latest resounding triumph coming on the back of a 5-1 victory at Cagliari, Icardi was able to convincingly claim the setback is already well behind Stefano Pioli’s squad.
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“Roma is a game we have left behind and we have raised ourselves from it well,” he said.

“We are giving continuity to our work with mister Pioli. For sure, the performance is not accidental – it is the result of the work we do with the coach. In a few games it can go wrong but I think we are on the right track.”

Inter 7 Atalanta 1: Hat-tricks for Icardi and Banega in stunning triumph

Stefano Pioli’s Inter were in rampant form as Mauro Icardi and Ever Banega netted hat-tricks in a 7-1 evisceration of Atalanta in Serie A.

Mauro Icardi netted a perfect nine-minute hat-trick before Ever Banega added a treble of his own as Inter demolished Atalanta 7-1 at San Siro.
Stefano Pioli’s men are up to fourth in the Serie A table having started the day behind their visitors in the standings – making the yawning gulf in class on the field all the more remarkable.
Inter captain Icardi has been a polarising figure for his club and back in his Argentine homeland but he lapped up the adoration as it rained goals in Milan, leapfrogging Edin Dzeko, Gonzalo Higuain and Dries Mertens in the race for the Capocannoniere in the process.
He opened the scoring from close range, left-footed in the 17th minute, before winning and converting a 23rd-minute penalty.
A 26th-minute header brought up 20 top-flight goals for Icardi this season and, having floated in the corner for Inter’s third, Banega then stunningly helped himself to a first-half brace.
Switzerland Under-21 midfielder Remo Freuler’s solo effort offered brief punctuation to an exercise in unrelenting pain for Gian Piero Gasperini’s team, previously so impressive this season, before ex-Atalanta man Roberto Gagliardini added a sixth and Banega arrowed in a superb free-kick.
Atalanta actually started brightly, captain Alejandro Gomez drilling wide with Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot, before their afternoon unravelled spectacularly.
Inter were furious to see Rafael Toloi only booked for bringing down Icardi as he bore down on goal but revenge would be swiftly and brutally exacted.
From the resulting free-kick, Ivan Perisic’s shot punctured a disorganised defensive wall and fell invitingly for Icardi to sweep home.
The Argentinian latched on to Perisic’s flick-on and was sent tumbling by Etrit Berisha before picking himself up to nonchalantly beat the cautioned goalkeeper with a penalty chipped high into the net.
Icardi completed a hat-trick clocking in at nine minutes and 13 seconds when he was left free to power home Banega’s corner at the near post.

3 – #Icardi has scored the fastest hat-trick (26th minute) for a Inter player in Serie A since Lorenzi (October 1947, 18th minute). History.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 12, 2017

Playmaker Banega then took his turn to cash in on the defensive mayhem, delaying his run to slam home Antonio Candreva’s cutback. When Candreva weaved through beleaguered opponents in the 34th minute, Banega repeated the trick.
Freuler offered a belated response as he cut into the Inter penalty area to net a fine individual goal – scant consolation three minutes from the end of an utterly shambolic half from his Atalanta team-mates.
Gagliardini was one of their number as recently as January but the 22-year-old, who never scored in Atalanta colours, displayed no mercy and the composure of a veteran when he collected Banega’s pass to crash into the top corner after 52 minutes.
Gomez was denied by Handanovic as Atalanta passed the minutes of their ordeal by searching for a second consolation, but Banega clipped a 67th-minute free-kick past the embattled Berisha for his hat-trick.

67: 7-1!!! This is unbelievable! @Ever10Banega strokes him a free-kick for to get himself a hat-trick too! #InterAtalanta 7-1 pic.twitter.com/7ZEDOnEpuo
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) March 12, 2017

Having ended February with a dispiriting 3-1 home loss to Roma, Pioli can reflect with much satisfaction as his players bettered their bounce-back 5-1 win at Cagliari last weekend – emphatic form that means clawing back a five-point deficit to the top three should not be ruled out entirely, although third-placed Roma do face Palermo later on Sunday.
Banega and Icardi departed to standing ovations, with a trip to Torino next on their agenda, while Gasperini must encourage a team that beat Napoli only two weeks ago to regroup when they host Pescara.
Key Opta stats:

– Icardi has been directly involved in 28 Serie A goals this season (20 goals, 8 assists), the most in the current campaign.
– Carlos Bacca – for AC Milan v Torino – is the only other man to score a perfect hat-trick in Serie A this season.
– Inter scored five first-half goals for the first time since 1964 (v Sampdoria).
– Atalanta conceded five goals in the first half for the first time in their Serie A history.
– Atalanta conceded seven goals in a Serie A match for the first time since losing 7-2 to the same opponents in 1990.
– Two Inter players scored hat-tricks in the same match for the first time since 1933.
– Inter scored seven goals from eight shots on target.

Man Utd and Chelsea target Badelj could shun summer transfer for Fiorentina stay

The midfielder, who has also been linked with Milan and Inter, claims he may decide to honour a contract with his current employers

Milan Badelj has suggested that he is prepared to snub interest in his services this summer and remain at Fiorentina.
The Croatia international has been generating transfer talk for several months, with numerous sides reported to have been monitoring his situation ahead of the winter window.
No move was made then, but the 28-year-old is said to still figure prominently on the respective radars of leading sides in Italy and England.
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Manchester United, Chelsea, Milan and Inter have all been credited with holding an interest in Badelj, but the holding midfielder insists he may decide to stay put.
He told Corriere dello Sport: “I still have a contract until 2018 with Fiorentina and I have always said that I’m fine here.
“Therefore I won’t exclude the fact that I might stay. We hope that the club and my agent will come together to clarify the situation.”

Badelj admits that he did allow exit gossip to turn his head last summer, but claims that he has ignored the more recent round of rumours as he endeavours to play his way back into peak form.
He added: “I thought the market for a few minutes, last summer.
“I can obviously only answer for myself, not for others. I understand that people think or have thought about certain things or that I want to find excuses to justify a season that has not always been brilliant.
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“I honestly only thought about the transfer market a few times. Anyway, it was only during last summer, for a few moments. Then I stopped.
“Several media outlets have spoken about my situation and when that happens you end up talking about it too much.

“I am not one who often speaks with the press. In August I had this I thought, but after I dismissed it I only thought about always giving my best on the pitch. I’ve never thought about the transfer market again.”

VIDEO: Isco turns on the style in Real Madrid training

The Spain international has been showcasing his finishing skills, with a sublime dink helping him to catch the eye of manager Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid’s stars have been readying themselves for a Sunday showdown with Villarreal by turning on the style on the training field.

Zinedine Zidane’s side will be looking to offer a positive response to a midweek defeat to Valencia and cement their standing at the top of La Liga.

That reversal does not appear to have knocked the confidence of those at Santiago Bernabeu, with creative talents looking to catch the eye of their boss.

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Isco has not always been a regular for Madrid this season, but his ability remains without question.

Zidane will have noted his efforts in training this week, with the Spain international producing a sublime dink and finish.

Mateo Kovacic has also been showcasing his finishing skills with an impudent rabona.

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Real could have been knocked off the La Liga summit by the time they take to the field on Sunday, but victory over Villarreal will ensure that they end the weekend in top spot.

VIDEO: Kovacic scores rabona in Madrid training

The Croatia international has been in fine form for Zinedine Zidane’s side in recent weeks, and he looks in great touch ahead of the weekend

Move over, Cristiano Ronaldo – we have a new king of the training ground at Real Madrid!

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Mateo Kovacic may not be the first man in Zinedine Zidane’s squad to be associated with flashy feats of footwork, but his spectacular skillset was there for all to see at Valdebebas on Friday.

The Croatia international picked out the bottom corner of the net from near the edge of the penalty area with an inch-perfect rabona strike – one that even moved hard-as-nails Pepe to reward him with a high five.

Everyone loves to see a rabona ! WAT #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/76qZHlPRT7

— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 24, 2017

It is a sign, perhaps, of Kovacic’s growing confidence this season under Zidane, and a few more moments like that might just be enough to see the 22-year-old handed a start in Sunday’s key La Liga trip to Villarreal.

I have no doubt Modric is the world's best – Srna

The former Croatia captain holds the Real Madrid midfielder in high regard and says believes the European champions would have trouble without him

Real Madrid star Luka Modric has reached his peak and is the finest midfielder in the world, according to compatriot Darijo Srna.
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Modric has won two Champions Leagues, two Club World Cups and the Copa del Rey among a host of honours since moving to the Spanish capital in 2012.

The 31-year-old was rewarded with a new contract lasting until 2020 last October and was named in the FIFPro World XI last month for his performances during 2016.

And former Croatia captain Srna, who retired from international football after Euro 2016, says the ex-Tottenham star has no equal in his position.

“Modric is beyond just a friend, he’s the best midfielder in the world right now,” he told Marca. “I have no doubts; I’m not saying that he is one of the best, I affirm that he is the best.

“Luka has grown over the years, I think he is now at his peak. Since he arrived he has been improving with the team. Real Madrid are having a great run of results, but without Luka they would have problems.”

Srna also backed Mateo Kovacic to develop into a leading player for Madrid after an inconsistent first 18 months at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I’m sure he will do well because he’s an incredible talent,” he said. “I adore him. Although he has grown a lot as a player, he has not yet realised his potential… but he will eventually.

“He is the future of Madrid. He needs time because in just three years he has gone from Dinamo Zagreb to play at Inter and Real Madrid.”
Ivan Rakitic’s form has been the subject of criticism at Barcelona this season and his future was cast into doubt when he was dropped from the team by Luis Enrique at the end of last year.

Srna, however, insists he will prove his value to the champions.

“Rakitic has demonstrated his quality many times and scored a goal in the Champions League final!” he said. “I am sure he will work hard to get back to [his] best level. I trust Rakitic very much.”

Srna himself rejected the chance to join Barca in order to stay at Shakhtar Donetsk and he is not interested in discussing the prospect of a move.

“I do not talk about those rumours, Shakhtar is my club, my love, my life,” the 34-year-old said.

'You just can't boo him' – Kovacic defends Ronaldo after more Bernabeu jeers

The Portuguese forward and his team-mates were targeted by the Real Madrid boo-boys as the La Liga leaders ran out 3-0 winners over Real Sociedad

Mateo Kovacic praised Real Madrid’s supporters but leapt to the defence of team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who was subjected to boos by the Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

Despite pre-match calls for unity in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo and Co. were targeted by the Madrid boo-boys as the La Liga leaders ran out 3-0 winners over Real Sociedad on Sunday.

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Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo shrugged off the hostile home crowd to score a goal and set up Kovacic as Madrid moved four points clear of reigning champions Barcelona and Sevilla.

“The fans were really good and were our twelfth man. We have to thank them for that,” Kovacic said.

“As for Ronaldo, he’s under a lot of pressure and that’s to be expected.

“A player who gets a goal every game is under a lot of pressure, but you just can’t boo him.”

Kovacic was lively throughout at the Bernabeu, scoring his first Liga goal of the season as he opened the scoring seven minutes prior to half-time.

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After being set up by Ronaldo, the Croatian midfielder then turned provider for the Portugal captain six minutes into the second half, before Alvaro Morata sealed the victory.

“It was a very important game and we managed to get the three points. The team did very well and we must continue on in this vein,” said Kovacic.

“Whenever you score it always makes you happy, but the most important thing is that we got the win and put three more points on the board. I got a goal and provided an assist and I’ve now go to keep going and prove that I can play for Real Madrid.”