Ventura: I'll probably manage Chelsea when Conte leaves

Having succeeded the Blues boss at both Bari and now the Italy national team, the 68-year-old has joked that he is a natural successor to his compatriot at Stamford Bridge

Giampiero Ventura has joked that he will manage Chelsea when Antonio Conte eventually departs as the new Italy boss attempts to fill the void left by his “good luck charm”.

Ventura took charge of the national team after Conte left for Premier League side Chelsea following Italy’s quarter-final run at Euro 2016, and the pair also shared similar paths into Serie A football.

After Conte guided Bari to promotion from Serie B in 2008-09, Ventura was appointed at the Stadio San Nicola and as the 68-year-old attempts to replicate the success of his predecessor, he has predicted he will also succeed his compatriot at Stamford Bridge in jest.

“I managed Bari after he won the Serie B title there and everybody was in love with him there,” Ventura told reporters.

“Conte is a good luck charm for me because my time in Bari was great and we did important things.

GOALREAD MORE  | RUMOURS: Brozovic in, Fabregas out?

“I came to the national team after an amazing Euros for Conte’s Italy. We will see if I will be able to replicate these achievements.

“I think that I will manage Chelsea when he leaves the Blues’ bench and that’s why I’m already trying to improve my English.”

“I got in touch with Conte three minutes ago. I asked him, ‘how are you’, and he said, ‘fine’. His English is perfect now,” continued Ventura, who will kick-off his era as Italy coach against France in an international friendly on Thursday before facing Israel in a World Cup qualifier four days later.

“He wished me good luck. He was very kind. I also got in touch with him before he signed for Chelsea.”

Bartomeu: Barca discussing new contract with Messi

The Argentina star is under contract until 2018 but the Camp Nou club are keen to offer him fresh terms, the Blaugrana chief confirmed

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said talks are already underway for Lionel Messi to sign a new contract.

Messi is under contract until 2018 but Barcelona are keen to offer him fresh terms, following reports in July that a new deal had been agreed.

And according to Bartomeu, it appears only a matter of time before the 29-year-old officially signs a new deal.

“Messi has two years of contract but we will talk with him to renew because we want him to continue,” Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio.

Messi – battling a hamstring injury as Argentina prepare to face Uruguay and Venezuela in World Cup qualifiers – has made an impressive start to the LaLiga season.

GOALREAD MORE  | Barcelona reveal Lionel Messi hamstring injury

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has overcome the disappointment of losing the Copa America Centenario final in June, helping Barcelona to Supercopa de Espana glory.

Messi also has two goals in as many LaLiga games as reigning Spanish champions Barca share top spot with Real Madrid and Las Palmas.

Bartomeu added: “Messi is the number one player in the world.

“The tax issues faced by his family is something that we do not like because sometimes players are not responsible for these things.

“We talk to all players and in the case of Leo, he is a very strong person, with great ambition, and has returned better than ever, demonstrating the desire to continue making people happy in Barcelona. We can always count on him.”

'After one game I'm confident Bayern will retain Bundesliga title' – Philipp Lahm

In the latest of his exclusive columns for Goal, Philipp Lahm looks back on the Bavarians’s perfect start to the new domestic season…

With the working week over and the weekend forecast for sunny weather, I am sure many people were busy planning a night in a beer garden, a BBQ or swim in the river Isar on Friday night. But despite the 30C temperatures, many were still grabbing the scarves out of their wardrobes – it’s that time of year again. The Bundesliga has begun!

Playing the first match has now become a routine for me, with Bayern Munich having the honour of playing the first match of the season in our role as champions for the past four years.

It also helps that it is a night game. The whole day can be used to build-up to the match with a short training session and an afternoon siesta, plus the temperatures in the evening help those of us who are not as young as we used to be!

Our first opponents were Werder Bremen, and the final score speaks for itself. Even I managed to get myself on the scoresheet after just two goals during the whole of last season.

The 6-0 result reads like something of a tennis score, but we know there will be a second set to play after the winter break later in the season.

GOALREAD MORE  | Ancelotti: My Bayern more direct than Pep’s

It may only be one game, but looking at the table I am already confident we can secure a fifth straight title.

Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Schalke and Wolfsburg will all be our rivals for the title, so it was good for us that two of them – Leverkusen and Schalke – began the season with defeats. All four teams play in a similar attacking style, but they lack the calmness and intelligence of Bayern.

Our biggest rivals, however, remain as Borussia Dortmund. They will continue to rack up the points, so we will have to be out our consistent best to win the title ahead of them.

For now I am glad we made the people of Munich happy, and I hope this special Friday evening game continues as a tradition at the Allianz Arena.

RUMOURS: Napoli turn down Everton's €25m Gabbiadini bid

Ronald Koeman is chasing the 24-year-old but last term’s Serie A runners-up intend to secure his replacement before releasing him to the Premier League outfit

Everton are looking to add Manolo Gabbiadini to their attack this summer but Napoli have turned down their opening bid, reports Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.

The Toffees have lodged an offer of €25 million for the Italy striker, who is unlikely to feature in Maurizio Sarri’s starting XI despite the departure of Gonzalo Higuain.

However, Napoli have rejected their offer for a player currently serving as back-up to summer arrival Arkadiusz Milik.

The Serie A club are open to a sale but intend to secure the signing of Leonardo Pavoletti from Genoa first in order to complete their own numbers in attack.


RUMOURS: Chelsea offer Fabregas for Brozovic

The Spain international is seen as surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge and Antonio Conte is willing to let him move to San Siro as part of a deal for the Inter star

Chelsea have offered Cesc Fabregas to Inter in a bid to complete a move for Marcelo Brozovic, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Blues are keen to secure the services of Croatia international Brozovic before the end of the transfer window as Antonio Conte bolsters his squad at Stamford Bridge.

And Fabregas is seen as surplus to requirements in west London having failed to start any of Chelsea’s first three Premier League matches of the season.

The pair therefore could swap places as the Blues look to convince Inter into releasing Brozovic.