Inter vs Juventus: Luciano Spalletti’s Best Available Nerazzurri Lineup

?It’s Inter’s turn to host Derby d’Italia, with the Nerazzurri coming up against Juventus for the 204th time in their history.

Luciano Spalletti is still looking to secure Champions League football for next season and Inter are currently five points inside the top four, but with a trip to Napoli still to come before the end of the campaign they need to make up for their dropped points over the last few weeks.

Here’s a look at how they could lineup on ?Saturday. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Milan Skriniar

Samir Handanovi? (GK) – The veteran goalkeeper is still one of the top performing shot-stoppers in Serie A and he’s helped Inter keep the second best defensive record in the league this season.

Danilo D’Ambrosio (RB) – The Italian might only be playing due to Šime Vrsaljko’s long-term injury, but D’Ambrosio hasn’t disappointed in defence as he’s gone on to make 26 appearances in the league, having direct involvement in seven goals.

Stefan de Vrij (CB) – The Netherlands international is still only in his first season at San Siro, but the former Lazio star has adapted to life with Inter like a duck to water.

Milan Škriniar (CB) – It’s no surprise that Europe’s biggest clubs are keeping tabs on Milan Škriniar, and the Slovakia international has once again been one of the most commanding centre backs in Serie A this season.

Kwadwo Asamoah (LB) – Another summer signing who arrived at San Siro on a free transfer, the former Juventus midfielder has been a revelation for the Nerazzurri and over the last month has been one of the best defenders in the league.


Midfielders

Radja Nainggolan

?Matías Vecino (CM) – The Uruguay international’s reputation as a hard-hitting defensive midfielder will be important against Juventus, but his ability on the ball and range of passing will also help Inter transition to attack.

Roberto Gagliardini (CM) – The 25-year-old hasn’t been a regular part of Luciano Spalletti’s plans this season but he’s shown his outstanding ability in the final third, scoring five goals in just 17 games.

Radja Nainggolan (CM) – It hasn’t quite been the debut season in Milan that Radja Nainggolan was hoping for when he left Roma, but the Belgian still has the ability to win games by himself and he’ll be a threat throughout the match.


Forwards

FBL-EUR-C1-INTER-BARCELONA

Matteo Politano (RW) – The Italian has made 31 appearances since arriving on loan from Sassuolo, scoring four goals and claiming the same amount of assists.

Mauro Icardi (ST) – It’s been a season to forget for Mauro Icardi as problems off the pitch have stolen the headlines, but the Argentine remains the club’s biggest threat going forward and he’ll be desperate to score against Juventus.

Ivan Periši? (LW) – The World Cup finalist hasn’t always had it easy at San Siro but his form is starting to pick up just in time for Derby d’Italia, having been directly involved in four goals in their last four games.

Let’

Inter vs Juventus Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Recently crowned Serie A champions Juventus will face Inter for the 204th time in their history this weekend, as Luciano Spalletti’s side look to cement their place in the Champions League places with a win this weekend.

The Bianconeri have struggled on the road in recent weeks, winning just two games away from home since the start of last month, but Saturday’s hosts haven’t won as the home team at San Siro since they edged past SPAL on March 10.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-AC MILAN-INTER


Where to Watch

?

?When Is Kick-Off? ?Saturday 27 April
?What Time Is Kick-Off? ?19:30 (BST)
?Where Is it Played? ?San Siro
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?bet365/DAZN
?Referee? ?N/A

Team News

Not too much has changed for Inter personnel wise as Šime Vrsaljko? remains their only notable absentee through injury, although Marcelo Brozoviis also a doubt.

Mauro Icardi could be in line to return to the starting lineup this weekend after being dropped for Lautaro Martínez during the club’s 1-1 draw with AS Roma last week.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi,Lautaro Martinez

For JuventusMattia Perin, Mario Mandžuki? and Sami Khedira remain sidelined for the rest of the season, while Martín Cáceres could be rushed back from injury in time for their journey east to Milan.

There has been no official word on Paulo Dybala’s fitness after he was forced to miss their most recent game against Fiorentina, but the Italian press suggests that the Argentine won’t return until after their match with Inter.


Predicted Lineups

?

Internazionale? Handanovi?; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Škriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Gagliardini, Nainggolan; Politano, Periši?, Icardi?.
?Juventus Szczesny; Cancelo, Rugani, Bonucci, Sandro; Can, Bentancur, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Kean, Ronaldo.?

Head to Head Record

Inter and Juventus have faced each other 203 times ?over the years, more common than any other fixture in both clubs’ respective histories, with the Bianconeri coming out on top on 97 occasions compared to the Nerazzurri’s 57.

Gonzalo Higuain,Daniele Rugani

Over their last 10 games, which includes their two-legged semi-final in the Coppa Italia during the 2015/16 season, Juventus again come out on top with six wins, while there have only been two draws between the two sides.


Recent Form

Saturday’s hosts have been very hot and cold since the turn of the year, but their six wins in Serie A have helped to keep Inter on course for another shot in the Champions League? next season, although they’ve been dumped out of the Europa League and Coppa Italia.

Juventus, meanwhile, have also had their run in Europe and Italy’s domestic cup brought to an abrupt end, but last week’s win over Fiorentina ensured that they were crowned Serie A champions for an eighth straight season.

Internazionale? Juventus
?Inter 1-1 Roma (20/04) ?Juventus 2-1 Fiorentina (20/04)
?Frosinone 1-3 Inter (14/04) ?Juventus 1-2 Ajax (16/04)
?Inter 0-0 Atalanta (07/04) ?SPAL 2-1 Juventus (13/04)
?Genoa 0-4 Inter (03/04) ?Ajax 1-1 Juventus (10/04)
?Inter 0-1 Lazio (31/03) Juventus 2-1 AC Milan (?06/04)

Prediction

It could? be easy for Juventus to take their foot off the gas now they’ve secured the Serie A title, something which has happened at times over the last few years.

But the Bianconeri don’t have any other competitions to focus their attention on this season, and manager Massimiliano Allegri will demand that his side don’t let up just because the rest of the campaign is going to be a formality.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Inter meanwhile do have things to play for, as defeat this weekend could see Milan, Roma and Atalanta move to within three points of them with just four games left to play.

Even though Inter do need a result, however, Juventus should have enough to get the better of their opponents in this weekend’s Derby d’Italia.

Prediction: Inter 1-2 Juventus

Let’

Malcom’s Agent Addresses Milan & Inter Rumours Following Difficult First Season at Barcelona

?Barcelona winger Malcom is not planning to think about his future at Camp Nou until the end of the season, nor have there been any talks with Milan or Inter over a proposed summer move, his agent Luis Fernando Menez Garcia has confirmed.

Recent speculation from Brazil had put Inter in ‘pole position’ to land Malcom, while a pair of Italian reports alleged that Milan are eyeing the 22-year-old and set up a meeting between Rossoneri sporting director Leonardo and Malcom’s representatives.

Malcom

But Menez Garcia has denied that there has been any contact with either of the Milan giants, or indeed any other clubs with regard to his client’s future.

“I’m not talking to any club,” the agent told Mundo Deportivo, with the Catalan newspaper also explaining that Malcom does not wish to consider the future until the end of the season.

Having emerged as a potential superstar in the making at Bordeaux, Malcom has endured a difficult first year at Camp Nou after Barça swooped in with a €41m offer at the 11th hour to stop what looked to be an all but confirmed move to Roma.

Competing against the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho has unsurprisingly left the Brazilian struggling for opportunities.

Lionel Messi,Malcom

Also linked recently with Arsenal and Tottenham, Mal has appeared in only 19 games in all competitions all seasons, starting just three times in La Liga. Malcom did score and assist in the 4-4 draw with Villarreal, but failure to make an impact when given a full 90 minutes as part of a rotated team in the 0-0 against Huesca hasn’t helped.

Barça can wrap up an eighth La Liga title in 11 years if they beat Levante at Camp Nou on Saturday, regardless of what second place Atletico Madrid do against Real Valladolid.

Let’

The 20 Greatest Free Kick Takers of All Time

The world can feel like a divisive place, now more than ever, but there is one thing that can bind us all together in these testing times. For at heart, we are all free kick fanatics. We all have our favourite? executors of these dead ball delights, because there are few things in football like it. A penalty? That’s just a sh#t free kick, mate. A corner? That’s just an unnecessarily hard one. 

No, out of all the set pieces we possess, the free kick is by far the most coveted, the most cherished, and by proxy, the most arduous. It takes thousands and thousands and thousands of hours to perfect this mesmeric craft. And, even then, probably thousands hours more to maintain it. 

And, as with most other art forms – and this is an art form – there are many different ways to execute a free kick, and thus many proponents worthy of celebration.

You can thwack it with untethered power, like, say, a verité filmmaker seeking to out some hard-hitting truths, you can caress it with curl, using the patience and panache of an impressionist painter, or you can sneak it along the floor and under the wall, like an internet writer finding a way to organically reference ‘Game of Thrones’ that doesn’t come across as coat-tailing for clicks.

And you can do a whole lot more, too. The point is: free kicks, they’re great! And, while it seems like every James Ward-Prowse under the sun can hit one top bins these days, there are still only a select few who truly warrant the label of Maester… I mean master (did it work?). 

Here are 20 of the best.


20. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

It’s always worth reiterating, because all football fans are preternaturally riddled with short-term memory loss, Zinedine Zidane was an absolute CHEVRE. And, his CHEVREness extended to many facets of the game, including this here speciality. 

Unfortunately, in his capacity as a CHEVRE at one of the CHEVRE teams, he played with many a player who will come to occupy a place on this list, but when he could muscle himself over a set piece, sacre bleu, it was almost always magnifique.


19. Gianfranco Zola

Gianfranco Zola scores second goal

The first of a *spoiler alert* three-man Tricolore, Gianfranco Zola made free kicks fun. Never one to truly thwack it from a set piece situation, and even when he did, the exertion always seemed minimal. 

That was Zola. The definitive cult hero is the sixth greatest executor of free kicks in Serie A history, and translated that success to ?Chelsea to great effect. The best way to sum up his free kick style would be to say that every single goal has a look of whipped ease that can only otherwise be found on apps such as Flick Kick Football.


18. Alessandro Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero

It’s like splitting hairs when comparing Del Piero and Zola, but the nod goes to Del Piero for his superior ?Serie A record (by two) as well his unerring confidence in his own dead ball ability, having recently told ?Gazzetta dello Sport that he would still beat Cristiano Ronaldo in a mano-a-mano free kick battle. 

I rate that.


17. Roberto Baggio

Fiorentina v Brescia X

The Divine Ponytail was a jack of all trades, and master of most – especially those that required the most honed of techniques and unbridled ingenuity.

Sure, he may be best remembered for blazing a penalty over the bar – though, as revealed ?here, that wasn’t completely his fault – but, if the world was a fairer place, and positivity was preyed upon with the same eagerness as negativity, his prowess from the spot – be it inside the box or otherwise – would be the principal takeaway.

His creativity knew no bounds, and that certainly didn’t stop when he lined up a shot with a wall of players assembled in front of him.


16. Gheorghe Hagi

FUSSBALL: EURO 1996 ROM - FRA 0:1

Yeh, what was said about Zidane, but even more acutely, because Gheorghe Hagi was Romanian, and hasn’t yet won the three requisite Champions League trophies it takes to sufficiently maintain your CAPRA (GOAT in Romanian – see you didn’t even know!!) status as a former star turned manager.

The Maradona of the Carpathians (CAPRAthians) may have been more famed for his wandering runs, but he couldn’t half hit a free kick either, possessing both might and precision in his armoury.


15. Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo

An extension of that initial Il Tricolore, we have Andrea Pirlo, which seems fitting, considering the Italian’s storied obsessions with bettering himself from set pieces, which ultimately meant elevating himself above those aforementioned compatriots.

Speaking in his autobiography ‘I Think Therefore I Play‘ (the greatest footballing autobiography title of all time?), the midfielder admitted: “The best ideas come about in moments of total concentration … My own Eureka moment arrived when I was sat on the toilet. Hardly romantic, but there you go.

That Eureka moment had been that Juninho Pernambucano‘s inimitable technique was actually somewhat imitable, as long as you used three toes instead of five at the moment of impact. Using this as a platform, he moulded it to his own unique feet, crafting the ‘Maldetta’ – his signature free kick – which translates to ‘The Cursed One’.

With 43 goals coming from it, I think it worked.


14. Pele

FRANCE-PELE

What??!?!?!? Pele?!?!??! Only 14th?!?!?!?

Well, yeh. Some aggregators may have him at second in the all-time free kick scorers list (with 70 goals), but how many of those came as part of the 526 he scored in unofficial games and coordinated friendlies? We don’t know.

Even more pressing than that, though, is the fact I have received many a Pele lecture in my life, most of them justified, but not one has leaned on the player’s set piece prowess. #sorrynotsorry.


13. Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos

Here’s where that Pele placing gets tricky, because at least the guy actually scored a few.

Roberto Carlos’ only scored 26 free kicks at club level throughout his career, and his ?La Liga conversion rate was 4.5%.The thing is, though, that fails to take into account all of the international thunderbolts (as a lot of these stats do), the most important of which being THAT mind-bending effort against France. 

He may not have been consistent, but he was always unbelievable. 


12. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Make no bones about it, this man will rise.

But, for now, it’s a testament to ?Lionel Messi’s unbending desire to improve on what many would describe as perfection, year in, year out. Because it feels like the Argentine has only become a free kick master in the last few years and yet he already has 42 goals for club and country.

Oh, and his La Liga conversion rate (8.5%) is better than Carlos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Esteemed company, as you’ll find out. 


11. Jose Luis Chilavert

Jose Luis Chilavert of Paraguay

Nothing to see here, just a Paraguayan goalkeeper perfecting his craft at the 2002 World Cup. 

The second highest scoring keeper in the history of the world is probably most famous for scoring the only ever custodian hat-trick ever recorded, but they all came from the penalty spot, so we’ll skip over those and head to his free kick exploits, because they were just as impressive.

His most impressive, you ask? Well, in 1996 he scored from inside his own half against River Plate. Yeh, seriously.


10. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo,Lucas Vazquez,Sergio Ramos,Gerard Pique,Sergio Busquets

There’s no doubt that ?Cristiano Ronaldo’s powers from the set piece spot have waned since his Manchester United years – we all remember the drought at Real Madrid – but he’s still a legacy dead ball specialist. 

And that was proved once more in last summer’s World Cup, when the Portuguese forward produced that last-gasp winner in that most pulsating of opening clashes against Spain. 

Still got it.


9. Michel Platini

WORLD-CUP-1986-FRANCE-HUNGARY

?Ok, I think I played the ‘don’t-forget-this-guy card too early’. Because, let’s be real, Zinedine Zidane has not been ousted from the GOAT conservation in the same coarse way as Michel Platini. But that’s for principally political reasons (you know, UEFA). So, here, let’s just enjoy the player. 

The thing is about those few generationally gifted players, is that they can do pretty much whatever they like on the pitch, and Platini showed this more than ever when a ball was stationary before his feet and the referee blew his whistle to allow him to strike it. 

Sure, he could bend it into the top corner if he wanted, but he seemed to prefer to tease it along the ground, under the wall or otherwise, to maximise the opponent’s hurt. Just like, I don’t know, Cersei Lannister? That’s a call back joke, which, if you didn’t read the intro, makes zero sense. Shame on you… Shame. Shame.


8. Ronald Koeman

BRAZIL V HOLLAND

?Corrr, could this guy do the business from a free kick.

Ronald Koeman, first of his name, shall be known from here on in on as: ‘Ronald Koeman, Eighth Greatest Scorer From Free Kicks Ever’.

Sure, it’s a clunky nickname, but it’s completely factual. If you want the perfect distillation of Koeman’s set piece dexterity, and it’s wild variation, then watch that stonker ?against Sampdoria in the 1992 European Cup final followed by that deftest of dinks ?against England in 1993.


?7. Zico

WORLD CUP-1986-FRA-BRA

You may not have heard of Arthur Antunes Coimbra, but you’ve definitely heard of Zico, his one-word moniker. One of the first true free kick specialists, he outmanoeuvred most goalkeepers armed with just his all-encompassing footballing intelligence and a two-step run-up.

Indeed, such was his ability from that range, his Brazil teammate Leonardo Nascimento de Araújo has been quoted as saying: “For us, a free kick from the edge of the penalty area was almost like a penalty. For Zico, it was almost a goal already.”

Some put his record at 62, others stretch it to 101, but one thing’s for sure, he was a master. 


6. Diego Maradona


???A definitive CHIVO if ever I’ve seen one, you might think you don’t need another lecture on the greatness of Diego Maradona, but then, have you seen the latest teaser clip from the upcoming documentary about him? Watch it, it’s right there. 

See, you’re now susceptible to all things DIEGO and CHIVO. 62 golazos from free kick range. Yes, that’s the sixth-best total.


5. Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho

?We may have used all the creative ingenuity nods too early, because this man was more creative and more ingenious than just about anybody ever. Bloody hell.

With 65 registered free kick netbusters, the Brazilian Barcelona man is the fourth-highest scorer of free kicks ever…. so why is he fifth? Well, you’ll find out.


4. David Beckham

FUSSBALL: WM QUALIFIKATION 2001, ENGLAND

??See, the thing is, Ronaldinho was a better player than David Beckham in almost every way… except for this very specific way. Despite notching one more set piece score than the Englishman, Becks’ whole legacy was built upon his delivery from free kicks/corners. 

He is also probably the owner of the most famous free kick in history (at least on these shores). I don’t even have to say which, because everybody knows. EVERYBODY KNOWS. 


3. Sinisa Mihajlovic

Sinisa Mihajlovic

A controversial character off the pitch (by that I mean almost every kind of terrible), Sinisa Mihajlovic could sure wow us with a dead ball.

No, he wasn’t as good technically as those that have come before him on this list, far from it – he was a no-nonsense centre back, FFS – but that’s what makes him so special, and what gives him the Bronze medal here. 

It’s like this: you wouldn’t call Alfonso Cuaron the greatest Cinematographer of all time (the GCOAT) just because he won an Oscar this year, because he’s overqualified in other areas, just as Maradona, Messi, Pele, Ronaldinho, Platini, Zidane and more in this list are. That’s why Sinisa gets the nod.

Not because I’m a big racist. 


2. Rogerio Ceni

Rogerio Ceni

Now that we’ve got that chat out of the way, the anointing of Rogerio Ceni as the second greatest free kick taker of all time can go ahead without distraction.

Rogerio Ceni, the greatest goalscoring goalkeeper of all time. Rogerio Ceni, scorer of 59 free kicks, the ninth best total of anyone, ever. Rogerio Ceni, the Sao Paulo hero who scored 132 goals in his career, putting himself in the ten greatest all-time scorers at the club.

Rogerio Ceni. Quite literally, a man like no other.


1. Juninho Pernambucano

Juninho of Lyon shots a free kick during...

?Who else? Seriously, who?

From everywhere you look, it’s indisputable. Juninho Pernambucano is simply the greatest free kick taker of all time. It’s not even a discussion. Is he the top scoring set piece taker in history? Yes, with 77, he is indeed. 

Did he do it with the greatest flair? You bet.

Could he do it from anywhere? Are you ?kidding?

?

That link will send you to his ‘Best Free Kicks Ever’, but, to be honest, that feels discriminatory. Just watch them all. ?Now. 


Let’

Barcelona Set Andre Gomes Asking Price as Serie A Trio Battle Everton Over Permanent Signing

Barcelona have reportedly set their asking price for midfielder Andre Gomes, who is currently enjoying a season-long loan at Everton.

The Portuguese midfielder has added a touch of class to the Toffees midfield, becoming a regular feature in Marco Silva’s midfield – overcoming a difficult start to life at the club in order to become one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Andre Gomes,Mesut Ozil

Gomes is not expected to make the cut at the Spanish giants, and as such, ?Everton have an option to make the loan deal permanent for the Portuguese playmaker. 

As reported by ?CalcioMercato, the Merseyside club are seriously considering exercise their purchase option, but if they fail to act, there are thought to be several Italian clubs looming in the background hoping of snap up the midfielder.

With Everton weighing up the option of a permanent deal, ?Barcelona have set their asking price at £17.5m – a fee which is thought to be within the budget of Roma, ?Inter and Lazio.

Andre Gomes

Gomes has been a consistent performer in an otherwise inconsistent team this season, featuring in 26 of the 35 Premier League games in 2018/19. Marco Silva is reportedly keen to keep hold of the former Valencia man, but amidst interest from Italy, Gomes may have his head turned.

Whilst Everton would have the financial muscle to compete and perhaps even outbid the ?Serie A clubs, the 25 year-old may be swayed by the European football on offer from the potential Italian suitors. 

Everton are currently battling it out for seventh place in the league – a position which would see them qualify for next season’s Europa League, if ?Watford fail to beat ?Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Michael Keane,Diogo Jota

It could transpire that Everton’s chances of keeping hold of Gomes rely on their ability to finish in seventh place. With ?Watford?Leicester and ?Wolves all battling for that last European spot, the Toffees will need to keep up their brilliant run of form to overcome their rivals.

Let’