Premier League Face Battle to Prevent European Competition Changes & Avoid Super League

?The Premier League are set for a battle to try to prevent changes to European football which could lead to the formation of a Super League.

The idea of a European Super League has long been discussed as a change to the traditional Champions League setup, which would see the continent’s top sides break away to form their own league competition.

According to the ?Daily Mail, the European Clubs’ Association have proposed the idea of turning the ?Champions League group stage into a 32-team league which would see each team play ten games against ten different opponents.

The top eight would qualify automatically for the knockout stages, while the next 16 would head to a two-legged playoff for the chance to book their place in the next round.

That is what the ECA would prefer to do, but they are expected to face serious resistance from the ?Premier League, who have made no secret of their desire to see the current format remain intact.


All 20 clubs are understood to be united in their belief that things should not change, while overseas clubs like ?Atlético Madrid have also stressed their opposition to the proposals, but there is a fear that giants like ?Real Madrid and ?Juventus will push for the Super League plans to go through.

The Premier League want to preserve the current structure of their competition. They believe that keeping games on the weekend is integral to the success of English football – something which would be under real threat should this new system be introduced.

The rules do not have to be agreed upon until 2021, and UEFA will make the final decision at the end of the day, but they will listen to input from the major leagues.

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Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, who leads the ECA, has long pushed for changes to the European structure, insisting that domestic leagues are the ones harming football.

“We must stand united in the interests of European football,” he said back in October. “To say ‘No, no, no’ as the European leagues have done is not healthy.”


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Inter Director Opens Door to Lautaro Martínez Exit as Barcelona Monitor Contract Negotiations

?Inter director Giuseppe Marotta has admitted the club would be forced to consider selling Lautaro Martínez to Barcelona if the striker asked for the move.

Barcelona are understood to see Martínez as the perfect long-term replacement for Luis Suárez, but Inter do not want to sell. The 22-year-old has been in electric form this season, racking up 13 goals and four assists in all competitions.

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?Inter are confident they will be able to keep Martínez, but Marotta confessed (via ?AS) they may be forced to consider other options if the striker decides he is no longer happy at San Siro.

“We are Inter and we don’t necessarily have to sell to anyone,” he said. “We want to grow up with important and young players like Lautaro and ?Romelu Lukaku.

“That said, the fate of a player is only inside their heads. If Lautaro wants to continue with us, we will be happy with that. At this moment, he is committed to us and we are happy. If he wants to take a different path, we will evaluate the situation.”

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AS state Martínez’s €111m release clause is only active during a two-week period in July 2020, but Inter are understood to be trying to negotiate a new contract which would raise that clause even further.

?Sport add that Inter officials have already met with Martínez’s agents to discuss a new deal, but things have not been as smooth as they would have hoped.

Firstly, Martínez wants to double his €2m-a-year salary, which Inter have initially refused to do, while his representatives also do not want to see his release clause increased as they fear it would prevent him from sealing a move elsewhere in the future.

Jean-Clair Todibo,Lautaro Martinez

Inter want his clause to be closer to €200m, so there is definitely a long way to go to reach a compromise.

With talks stalling, ?Barcelona will continue to monitor the situation to see whether they have any chance at striking a deal. However, given his release clause will only become active in July, a winter move would come as an enormous surprise.


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Luke Shaw Aims Hilarious Dig at Former Teammate Romelu Lukaku After Inter Drop Into Europa League

?Manchester United Luke Shaw has aimed a cheeky dig at former teammate and current Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.

The Nerazzurri were knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday after they lost 2-1 at home to Barcelona, finishing third in Group F and dropping into the Europa League.

While elimination from the European Cup would have been seen as a possibility by Lukaku yesterday, receiving an oddly-timed tweet from Luke Shaw probably wouldn’t have been.


After Inter’s elimination was confirmed, ?Shaw quote tweeted a post of Lukaku’s from October which had the caption ‘UCL’ and featured a picture of him training. The ?United left-back went out of his way to reply with ‘Welcome back’, with the Serie A side now joining the Red Devils in the Europa League.

The tweet seems misguided as Lukaku’s initial tweet was not alluding to United or Shaw at all, yet the England international has for some reason tried to humiliate his former teammate. However, if anything, it may have made himself look silly. 

While the Europa League is seen as the more undesirable of UEFA’s club competitions and Lukaku will be incredibly frustrated to have been demoted to it with ?Inter, United were not good enough to even start in the ?Champions League this season, and many felt that the Belgian took a step up by leaving for Antonio Conte’s side.

Luke Shaw,Martin Atkinson,Romelu Lukaku

Shaw’s attempt at humour seems ill-advised, though it’s been suggested by some fans that the petty humour is the left-back is him getting one back on ?Lukaku. Shortly before the striker’s departure, he posted a picture of the United first team’s running stats, which revealed that Shaw was the slowest member of the squad. ?The tweet was deleted so?on after.

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A Look Back at Antonio Conte’s European Failures Following Inter’s Champions League Exit

To Conte’

Verb 

verb: Conte; 3rd person present: Contes; past tense: Conte’d; past participle: Conte’d; gerund or present participle: Conteing 

1. To bottle the simplest of tasks in a European competition and to generally make a fool of yourself

“Bayern Munich were minutes away from lifting the 1999 Champions League trophy, but they Conte’d it up in the last minute, handing Manchester United the victory.” 

2. To get a crazily obvious hair transplant. 

“Eurgh, I’m going a bit thin on top – I may need to Conte this sitch.” 

Antonio Conte

When Inter sacked Luciano Spalletti and hired Antonio Conte over the summer, it seemed like I Nerazzurri’s prayers had been answered. 

The Italian giants were fed up of living in Juventus’ shadow, so after hiring an ex-Juve coach and an ex-Juve Sporting Director, Inter were ready to challenge their arch enemies in their own authentic style. 

Conte has gone about his business at San Siro with typical ruthlessness, stripping his squad down to a select group of players, then complaining that he doesn’t have a big enough team to compete at the highest level.

While ?Inter were fielding a much-weakened midfield due to injury, and desperately searching for a goal against Barcelona on Tuesday night, the bombed-out Radja Nainggolan, Ivan Perisic and ?Mauro Icardi were probably watching with a rye smile, wondering if Conte was regretting the extreme measures he had taken against the trio.

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And so that leads us nicely on to Tuesday’s harrowing evening for the Interisti, who crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages – again – after a home defeat to Barcelona’s youth team. 

It was the second successive season that I Nerazzurri have failed to make it out of their group, and for Conte, it was not a new sensation either. 

Inter’s recent USP has become the tagline ‘Inter – not for everyone’. Well, the same slogan could be applied to their coach’s torturous relationship with the Champions League. 

Sometimes, a competition is just not one of your strengths, or in this case, it’s just not Conte’s cup of tea. 

With another disappointing failure under his belt, 90min takes a look back at Conte’s ultimate bottle jobs in Europe’s most prestigious tournament. 


Juventus (2011-14) 

There was no Champions League football during Conte’s debut campaign on the black and white bench, but ?Juventus’ first season back in Europe’s biggest competition ended in a comprehensive 4-0 aggregate defeat to ?Bayern Munich. 

It was far from inspiring from Conte’s side, but a round of 16 exit to the eventual winners is nothing to ridicule. 

However, newly-crowned Serie A champions Juve then entered the 2013/14 edition with plenty of expectation that their new era of dominance should translate to European success, too. Group B saw I Bianconeri drawn against ?Real Madrid, Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen. 


?Easy enough.

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Conte’s side won ONE game out of the opening five fixtures. This included a 2-2 draw with Copenhagen, a dramatic tie with Galatasaray, who looked beaten when Juve took a 2-1 lead in the 87th minute. The Turkish giants then went up the other end of the pitch to equalise just one minute later, putting I Bianconeri back in a sticky situation. 

The Old Lady went into the final game of the group stages needing only to avoid defeat against third-place Galatasaray, and she’d be on her way to the knock-out rounds. But CALAMITY! 

Wesley Sneijder bagged an 85th minute winner for the Turkish hosts, sinking Conte and co. down into the depths of the Europa League. 

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They had been well and truly Conte’d. 

Conte managed to get Juve to the Champions League final in the following season, but they suffered a humbling 3-1 defeat at the hands of ?Barcelona, whose lethal strike force of ?Neymar, ?Luis Suarez and ?Lionel Messi tore the Old Lady into black and white ribbons. 


Chelsea (2016-18) 

Much like his time at Juve, Conte’s arrival at ?Chelsea coincided with the club’s temporary slump, so (fortunately for the Italian boss) there was no European football to mess up. The former Italy boss worked his domestic magic though, and the Blues cruised to the Premier League title in 2017. 

Sadly, domestic success means only one thing – Champions League football. 

Stephan El Shaarawy

Chelsea were favourites to qualify from Group C, with ?Atletico Madrid, Roma and Qarabag as their opponents. Conte did manage to navigate a successful passage into the Champions League knock-out rounds, but his side Conte’d it up and had to settle for second place. 

The London club threw away a two-goal lead at home to Roma, and then were on the end of a 3-0 hammering in the reverse fixture at the Stadio Olimpico. 

Conte’s punishment for failing to top their group was a tie with Barcelona, who – as proven by Roma later in the competition – could be got at very easily. Chelsea showed no signs of ever threatening the Catalan giants, and Conte Conte’d once again on the big stage, losing 3-0 at Camp Nou to end their adventure in the round of 16. 

He must have been pulling his hair out. 


Inter (2019-)

And so we arrive to the present day. 

Conte’s Inter are sitting top of the Serie A table, and they look set to launch a proper title challenge for the first time in almost a decade. Heartbreak for the ex-Juve boss however – Inter qualified for the Champions League last season. 

On the face of it, their group was the so-called ‘group of death’, pulling Barcelona and ?Borussia Dortmund along with Slavia Prague. But scratch a bit deeper under the surface, and there was plenty more cause for optimism. 

This Barcelona side is a far cry from their team of old, and they are only sitting joint-top of La Liga due to the deficiencies of their floundering competitors. Meanwhile in Germany, Dortmund can’t string a run of positive results together and have a shockingly leaky backline which is begging to be exploited. 

Nicolo Barella,Matteo Politano,Valentino Lazaro

Inter started the tournament with the easiest game of the lot: at home to the whipping boys. Safe to say, they really Conte’d this one up. The hosts saved themselves from complete embarrassment, snatching a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague during the dying embers of the match – but it was a far from ideal start. 

Inter then went to Camp Nou, possibly their hardest match of the six, and played some incredible football, but ultimately Conte’d it up in the second half, throwing away their one-goal lead to lose the match. 

An impressive 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund put I Nerazzurri back in control of their fate, and they took a brilliant 2-0 lead going into half-time of the reverse tie in Germany. This was it. This was the moment Inter and Conte broke their horrific cycle. 

Nah. They Conte’d the F out of this one. Three second-half goals from Dortmund left I Nerazzurri with plenty to do, but somehow victory in Prague then put them back in the driving seat going into the final match, despite their constant screw-ups. 

Antonio Conte

All Conte needed to do was secure victory against a Barcelona side that doesn’t travel well, that was already qualified and had left Messi at home. Yet, somehow, that tagline just kept resurfacing in their minds: “Not for everyone”.

Barcelona’s second-string team frustrated Inter for large parts, and although the hosts had three goals disallowed for offside, Ernesto Valverde’s side killed the contest with five minutes remaining, and Conte was left to pick up the pieces of another European dream gone rogue. 

Still, there’s always the Europa League, Antonio…


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Manchester City & Liverpool Among European Elite Tracking Inter Teenage Sensation

Premier League giants ?Manchester City and Liverpool are reportedly chasing Inter starlet Sebastiano Esposito, with the pair making ‘very lucrative offers’ to the young striker in an attempt to lure him away from Serie A. 

The Italy Under-19 international has broken into Antonio Conte’s first-team this season, making three league appearances for I Nerazzurri, while he also came off the bench in the Italian side’s defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday evening. 

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Esposito’s rise to stardom has not gone unnoticed, and ?FC Inter News reports that ?Manchester City and ?Liverpool are among a cluster of European giants who have made contact with the player.

?It is believed that Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund have joined the ?Premier League sides in the hunt for the striker’s signature ‘with great persistence’, but Esposito has expressed no desire to leave San Siro and has rejected the advances of Europe’s elite thus far. 

The Italian starlet is highly rated by Inter coach Conte, who is desperate to see the striker develop and grow under his tutelage. The ?ex-Chelsea boss has been left impressed by Esposito’s ability to rise to each challenge, and the club have arranged talks with the player’s parents to discuss a new and improved contract over the Christmas period. 

Sebastiano Esposito

Esposito has also attracted the attention of Europe’s super-agents, with the likes of Mino Raiola and ex-Roma captain Francesco Totti keen to represent the wonderkid. The Inter man is currently represented by his parents however, and the family has stressed that the youngster is not interested in changing his club or agent.  

Inter suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Tuesday’s Champions League tie with ?Barcelona, and the loss meant that Conte’s men bowed out of the competition at the group stages, with la Blaugrana and ?Dortmund filling the top two places in Group F.

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