Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis appeared to rule out the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, insisting the club must "start from scratch" after Gennaro Gattuso replaced Carlo Ancelotti.

Ibrahimovic is a free agent after leaving MLS side LA Galaxy and the veteran striker has been linked with a return to Serie A via Napoli, former club Milan and Serie C outfit Monza.

Touted to re-join Milan, the arrival of ex-Rossoneri boss Gattuso in Naples has led to speculation Ibrahimovic could move to Napoli instead.

It comes after Napoli reportedly offered Ibrahimovic an 18-month contract before head coach Ancelotti was sacked following the club's Champions League victory on Tuesday.

Asked about Ibrahimovic, De Laurentiis told reporters: "Zlatan is a great person with a strong character. We thought about Ibrahimovic when Ancelotti was in charge, as he would've taken a certain role.

"Now before thinking about him, I have other priorities, as this is a team that must play in a different system with a very high line and a defence that cannot allow what it allowed against Parma.

"We must focus first and foremost on what we have in-house and then to reinforce the midfield. It's a pity all the work we had done for Ancelotti now has to be scrapped and we start again working for Gattuso's ideas. We start from scratch, but do not lack enthusiasm."

Gattuso's first match in charge did not go according to plan – Napoli stunned 2-1 by visiting Parma after conceding a 93rd-minute goal on Saturday.

The result left Napoli languishing in eighth in Serie A, 11 points outside the top four amid an eight-match winless streak in the league.

"I am totally in sync with Gattuso, who is a great worker," De Laurentiis said. "He did well at Milan and is the right profile for us, as was Carlo, who remains an extraordinary person.

"Now we need a great deal of patience, nerves of steel and cool heads. I tell that above all to the fans. They want to win at all costs, but football has changed and it has become far more complex."

On Ancelotti, De Laurentiis added: "I can only wish Ancelotti all the best. He is an extraordinary person and a great friend. Once we reach the end of the season, I'll look at everything and understand what went wrong or who was wrong. We will draw a definitive line."

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel backed Neymar to score his next penalty, saying the forward was "sad" about his miss against Saint-Etienne.

Neymar hit the post with a second-half penalty in PSG's 4-0 victory in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

It came just days after the Brazilian handed spot-kick duties to Edinson Cavani during a Champions League thrashing of Galatasaray.

But Tuchel still believes in Neymar, who provided two assists in the comfortable league win, from the spot.

"I'm always a little nervous as a coach, that's normal," he told a news conference.

"When he shoots, normally, I'm pretty sure he scores. He's sad because he still wants to score, it was a great opportunity for him.

"But he's going to kick the next penalty, and I'm sure he'll score again."

Already behind to Leandro Paredes' opener, Saint-Etienne were reduced to 10 men when Jean-Eudes Aholou saw red in the 25th minute.

Kylian Mbappe, set up twice by Neymar, scored a brace either side of Mauro Icardi's goal as PSG claimed a fifth straight Ligue 1 win.

"We have defended very well, with great intensity, always together," Tuchel said.

"This is a good time for us, victory is deserved. We had a lot of chances to score. We recovered a lot of balls high up in the opposing field.

"We never stopped defending, even after the red card. It was good, I'm happy. Congratulations to the team."

Real Madrid salvaged a 1-1 draw at Valencia on Sunday thanks to a late Karim Benzema equaliser that Zinedine Zidane believes is proof of the team's fighting spirit.

Valencia looked to be heading for a 1-0 win when Carlos Soler put the hosts in front with 12 minutes to go, then surviving a scare as Luka Jovic had a goal disallowed for offside.

But Madrid continued to plug away and eventually restored parity deep into stoppage time – Benzema slamming home after goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was remarkably denied when his header was saved by Jaume Domenech.

As such, Madrid go into Wednesday's Clasico against Barcelona with something of a morale boost, with Zidane suggesting the late goal highlights his team's mentality.

"This shows you what we are, we fight until the end. We fight and what we want is to get a good result," he told Movistar.

"We don't lower our arms. We got it [the equaliser] with the courtesy of Courtois and Karim. I'm glad for them because it has been a tremendous effort from everyone.

"You have to be proud of the game. When in such a difficult stadium, you concede a goal a few minutes from full-time, you can fall apart, but we still thought that something could be achieved, and we achieved it."

Club captain Sergio Ramos was less philosophical about dropping points, however, acknowledging he leaves Mestalla disappointed.

"Despite scoring at the end, it tastes a bit bitter despite adding a point. When you don't leave with the three points, you leave with that pity," he said.

"I think we've controlled the match well, with balance. We had in front of us a rival who came into the match in good form.

"We can't press for the full 90 minutes, but we've gone all the way. We've made a point that allows us to stay joint-top."

Antonio Conte has said Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku "need a breather" after Inter were pegged back late on against Fiorentina.

Borja Valero's early goal looked to be enough to be sending Conte's side two points clear of Juventus at the top of Serie A on Sunday, but Inter were ultimately made to pay for some wasteful finishing.

Substitute Dusan Vlahovic was the hero for Fiorentina, picking up the ball in his own half before driving clear of Inter's defence and thumping a fine finish beyond Samir Handanovic in stoppage time.

Conte, whose side dropped out of the Champions League in midweek due to a last-gasp defeat to Barcelona, believes fatigue is proving the crucial factor in Inter's concession of late goals, as well as Martinez and Lukaku's shows of profligacy, with both players passing up great opportunities against Fiorentina.

"It's hard to talk about fitness levels, because we've had seven games in 21 days, with Lautaro and Lukaku playing constantly," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"Unfortunately, the Alexis Sanchez injury left us in a situation where we couldn't give them any respite, so I can only thank them. These players need a breather, but we cannot afford to give it to them.

"These are games where we didn't take the results we deserved. Against Barcelona, we paid for wasting several chances to score and allowing two situations where we could've done a lot better.

"It was a strong response from the team. It’s disappointing about that late equaliser, because we deserved more, both tonight and against Barcelona.

"I don't think we can complain about the effort or attitude of these lads. It is a growth process, we need patience to learn from mistakes. If we don't have patience and assume we must win every game because we are Inter, then we're not progressing.

"We are talking about players who are constantly going out there and playing 90 minutes, so inevitably there is going to be some fatigue."

The draw has left Inter level on points with Juve heading into their final match of 2019, with the Nerazzurri taking on Genoa on Saturday.

However, they will have to do so without Martinez, who received his fifth booking of the season against Fiorentina, and Marcelo Brozovic, who is likewise suspended.

Rayo Vallecano president Raul Martin Presa condemned chanting against Albacete player Roman Zozulya that led to a Segunda Division game between the sides to be abandoned, and said his club was also a "victim".

Sunday's match at Vallecas was brought to an end at half-time by referee Jose Antonio Lopez Toca after Zozulya was targeted by home fans throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Zozulya, a former Ukraine international, joined Rayo on loan from Real Betis in 2017 but the move was cut short when supporters protested against the transfer due to reported far-right links, which the player has strenuously denied.

Presa said in quotes posted on Rayo's official Twitter account that the club offered to have Sunday's second half played in front of empty stands with fans sent home, but this was rejected.

"It is a very sad night for Rayo and sport," he said. "We want to condemn sharply the insults that a part of the fans, located in the background, has uttered to a rival player.

"Football is to unite, it is not for disunity. You cannot afford what we experienced today. We have asked that this attitude stops. We agree the two teams must play in better conditions. We will not tolerate any type of violence.

"Sanction for Rayo? Rayo is a victim. We have put all the means within our reach. The coach called for respect. We have been a victim.

"For us, this was a vital match. Most of the fans have been respectful. We feel sorry and shame that this happens. Here players are trained in respect.

"I have spoken with Zozulya and I have given him a hug, because he is a human being and deserves respect. At Rayo Vallecano you have the right to play around the world regardless of race or ideology. Rayo wanted Zozulya to play.

“We can't blame everyone for some. It would be unfair. Today a lot of damage has been done to Rayo and football."

Presa added there will be talks over when the fixture can be replayed, while the league released a statement that backed the referee's decision to stop the match, a warning to the fans having already been given via the public address system.

Zozulya was emotional in the dressing room following the incident according to Albacete vice-president Victor Varela, who said the player was "crying for everything that was happening and has arrived in the locker room completely shattered".

Varela added: "So I think we have all made the right decision to defend our football and our competition.

"He is having a bad time and, frankly, he is very affected. Obviously it has been a pretty tough situation for him.

"I can only say that Roman, since he arrived at Albacete, has had exemplary behaviour and besides being a great footballer he is a great companion."

Dennis Lawrence has been fired as head coach of the Trinidad and Tobago national senior team with immediate effect.

Lyon star Memphis Depay suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during Sunday's Ligue 1 loss to Rennes.

Depay, 25, is set to miss the rest of the season and becomes a major doubt for Netherlands' Euro 2020 campaign.

The forward has enjoyed a fine Ligue 1 campaign, scoring nine goals and providing two assists in 13 games, but he faces at least six months out of action.

"It's a very bad evening because we lost and because of the lack of quality. The very bad news is also the injury of Memphis, who could be out for a while," Lyon sporting director Juninho said.

"He's our captain and I'm sad for him."

Making matters worse for Lyon, midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide suffered a ruptured ACL in his right knee.

Confirming both injuries, Lyon said in a statement the pair were "unfortunately likely to be unavailable for at least six months".

Lyon are eighth in the Ligue 1 table after two defeats in their past three league matches.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain moved seven points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table with a comfortable 4-0 win away at 10-man Saint-Etienne.

Thomas Tuchel's side were already in front thanks to Leandro Paredes' first goal for the club when their task was made easier by Jean Eudes Aholou's 25th-minute red card.

Mbappe doubled PSG's lead and, though Neymar missed from the penalty spot, PSG did not have to get out of second gear as they extended their winning streak to five Ligue 1 games.

Mauro Icardi netted PSG's third, before Mbappe struck with the last kick of the match to add further gloss to the scoreline.

Saint-Etienne had a chance to take an early lead but Denis Bouanga curled wide, and PSG then opened the scoring in the ninth minute.

A goalmouth scramble saw the ball eventually cleared to Paredes, and his 20-yard volley took a decisive deflection off Wesley Fofana to deceive Stephane Ruffier.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Aholou was dismissed for a wild challenge on Paredes, and Mbappe, who earlier had a goal ruled out for offside, made it 2-0 before the break by running on to Neymar's pass to beat Ruffier.

Keylor Navas made a fine save to deny Bouanga following the restart, and Angel di Maria saw a shot come back off the woodwork.

It should have been 3-0 to PSG in the 62nd minute but Neymar hit the post from 12 yards after he was fouled in the box by Mathieu Debuchy.

Icardi converted from close range, though, the striker scoring his eighth Ligue 1 goal since joining on loan from Inter, and a fine finish from Mbappe at the death wrapped up PSG's latest win.


What does it mean? PSG romping to the title

Marseille's draw away to Metz earlier in the weekend enabled PSG to stretch their lead at the top. Another title for Tuchel's men, even before the halfway point of the season, already appears to be a foregone conclusion. PSG have a game in hand over Marseille, too.

70 up for Mbappe

Mbappe netted for the fifth game in a row in all competitions and brought up another milestone to boot. The 20-year-old's first strike took him to 70 Ligue 1 goals and he is the youngest player to reach that figure in 50 years.

Aholou lets his team-mates down

PSG were already a goal up and cruising when Aholou effectively ended his side's chances of earning a positive result. His ridiculous tackle on Paredes gave referee Ruddy Buquet no choice but to show the red card, despite Aholou appearing to be shocked by the decision.

What's next?

Both teams are away in the Coupe de la Ligue last 16 on Wednesday, with PSG at Le Mans as Saint-Etienne head to Nimes. PSG then host Amiens on Saturday, when Saint-Etienne are away to Strasbourg.

Karim Benzema rescued Real Madrid at the death with a stoppage-time equaliser that salvaged a 1-1 draw away to Valencia, but they missed the chance to go into El Clasico top of the table.

Madrid looked to be heading for a deserved defeat when Carlos Soler netted with 12 minutes to go, but Benzema smashed in from close range right at the end, meaning Los Blancos head into Wednesday's clash with bitter rivals Barcelona level on 35 points with them.

Madrid started with the greater purpose but failed to make the most of their opportunities, offering encouragement to Valencia, who threatened several times through Ferran Torres.

Much of the second half was cagier, with clear-cut chances less frequent, but Soler finished off a swift move to finally open the scoring, before Madrid avoided defeat with one of the last kicks of the game – Benzema saving Zinedine Zidane's men.

Dusan Vlahovic scored a spectacular late equaliser as Fiorentina fought back to draw 1-1 with Inter and hand Juventus a boost in the Serie A title race.

Borja Valero's early strike against his former club looked set to be enough to claim the points for Inter, who had temporarily fallen into second place due to Juve's comfortable win over Udinese earlier on Sunday.

However, having seen a goal ruled out by the VAR before squandering several gilt-edged chances, Antonio Conte's side were unable to double their lead.

Fiorentina took full advantage as teenager Vlahovic stepped up with a sensational solo strike in stoppage time to secure a lifeline for under-pressure coach Vincenzo Montella while ensuring Inter could only move level on points with Juve at the top.

 

A Segunda Division game on Sunday was suspended at half-time due to chanting aimed at Albacete player Roman Zozulya.

Rayo Vallecano fans aimed chants at the forward during the first half of the game and the referee, Jose Antonio Lopez Toca, opted not to play the second half after a long delay.

Zozulya joined Rayo on loan from Real Betis in 2017 but the move was cut short after supporters protested against the transfer due to alleged far-right links, which the player denied.

A statement released by the league on Sunday backed the referee's decision to stop the match.

"LaLiga expresses its agreement with the decision taken by Jose Antonio Lopez Toca, the referee of the match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete, to suspend the match after serious insults and threats during the first half against Roman Zozulya, player of the visiting club, and at the request of the two teams in the Vallecas stadium," the statement read.

"From LaLiga, we continue working to eradicate violence, racism and xenophobia in the stages of Spanish professional football."

Zozulya, 30, is a former Ukraine international who last played for his country in November 2016.

Points were dropped by several Premier League sides with top-six aspirations on a weekend when leaders Liverpool were rescued by Mohamed Salah's finishing as they extended their winning streak and their cushion at the top.

The Reds beat Watford 2-0 at Anfield to move 10 points clear of Leicester City, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Norwich City.

There was also frustration for a top-four side at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea failed to score for the second time in three Premier League home games as they succumbed 1-0 to Bournemouth.

Manchester City suffered no such slip-up when they travelled to Arsenal on Sunday, as a 3-0 win for the third-placed defending champions moved them to 14 points behind Liverpool.

Tottenham nudged up to fifth after beating Wolves 2-1 to offer further evidence that Jose Mourinho has addressed some of the problems his side faced on the road under Mauricio Pochettino.

Take a deep dive into the big stories of the weekend in our Premier League Data Diary.

REDS STREAK RANKS THIRD AFTER TRICKY HORNETS TEST

Goals from Mohamed Salah and some wayward Watford finishing ensured Liverpool claimed a 2-0 win at Anfield to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 34 games.

Only Arsenal (49 between May 2003 and October 2004) and Chelsea (40 between October 2004 and October 2005) can boast longer undefeated sequences in the competition, and the Reds have won their last 16 league games at Anfield.

Five more consecutive home wins would see Jurgen Klopp's men match the record (21) set by Bill Shankly's title-winning Liverpool side between January and December 1972.

Salah's double takes his goal tally to 84 in 126 appearances for Liverpool, eclipsing Luis Suarez's record of 82 goals in 133 games for the Reds.

Watford have taken just nine points from 17 league games this season, and the omens for them are not good: all of the nine teams to accumulate nine points or fewer after 17 Premier League matches have been eventually relegated.

 

HONEYMOON PERIOD A DISTANT MEMORY FOR LAMPARD

After seeing Chelsea lose just two of his first 12 Premier League games in charge, Frank Lampard watched his charges slip to a fourth defeat in five against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The 1-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge came courtesy of Dan Gosling's first league goal since April and left the Blues with just one fewer home defeat (five) in all competitions this season than they suffered in 62 games over 2017-18 and 2018-19 combined.

Chelsea have lost two of their last three top-flight home games, as many as they had in their previous 28 at Stamford Bridge, and failed to score in both of those defeats.

Since their promotion in 2015, no side has won more Premier League away game at Chelsea than Bournemouth (three, level with Liverpool).

 

MOURINHO'S MEN MAKE PROGRESS ON THE ROAD

Prior to Jose Mourinho's arrival as Tottenham boss, Spurs had failed to win a Premier League away game this season. But since he took charge they have won two out of three in the league on the road.

Lucas Moura's spectacular solo goal gave them the lead at Molineux and the Brazilian has now scored three goals in five top-flight appearances under Mourinho.

Wolves pulled level after 67 minutes of a scintillating game, Adama Traore scoring his fourth goal in 26 appearances in all competitions this season - twice as many goals as he scored in his previous 82 matches.

But Jan Vertonghen restored Tottenham's lead in second-half stoppage-time, inflicting a third home league defeat for Wolves in 2019 while extending Mourinho's record of not losing Premier League games when his side score first to 54 games since October 2015.

 

CHAMPIONS CRUISE AGAINST SHOT-SHY GUNNERS

Arsenal shipped three goals in 40 first-half minutes as they lost 3-0 at home to Manchester City, which left the Gunners with one win from their last nine Premier League matches.

Freddie Ljungberg's men are without a win at home in six games across all competitions - the club's longest such run since an eight-game streak between December 1994 and February 1995.

Kevin De Bruyne produced a masterclass at the Emirates, scoring either side of Raheem Sterling's tap-in, which he set up, to take his goal involvement tally to 19 in the league this season (seven goals and 12 assists).

Sterling's effort was his seventh away goal in the league this season - his joint-highest return on the road in a single campaign (also seven in 2017-18).

While City were prolific, Arsenal mustered just one shot on target all game - their joint-fewest in a Premier League game at Emirates Stadium (one v Everton in 2010, and v Chelsea in 2015 and 2016).

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claims midfield superstar Kevin De Bruyne plays the type of passes other footballers are simply incapable of.

The Belgium midfielder produced a dominant display to inspire City to a comfortable 3-0 away win over Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

De Bruyne scored two fine goals either side of an assist for Raheem Sterling, leaving defending champions City 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.

The two-goal star played in a more advanced role and, while lauding his passing, Guardiola acknowledged the benefits of De Bruyne being shorn of defensive responsibility.

"Kevin made an incredible two goals and an assist," Guardiola said in his post-match news conference.

"He is an extraordinary player so we don't discourage his quality. He sees passes and action that normal humans can't see, having a special vision and assists.

"Always we speak to him, 'You have to score more goals', and today he scored two incredible goals and got an assist for Raheem Sterling.

"Kevin can play in different positions, but, of course, when they can think more in attack and less in defence, it is much better."

Guardiola was satisfied with the performance of Phil Foden, who made his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal.

City frequently looked to hit the hapless Gunners on the break, though, which Guardiola suggested did not suit the 19-year-old's game.

"Phil always plays good," the manager said. "He doesn't always touch the ball but he played well defensively.

"We make the actions for the counter-attack but not as much ball possession, so that's why he did not touch the ball too much.

"Always when he has the ball, he does another extraordinary thing. He is a great player.

"He did what he should do and helped us to win the game, especially in the first half. He’s so clever with his passes and so on."

Memphis Depay is expected to be out for the rest of the season due to a serious knee injury, says Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Depay was substituted at half-time during Sunday's Ligue 1 defeat at home to Rennes, having initially been hurt in a tussle with Hamari Traore.

The forward sustained a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee that could rule him out of action for several months.

Depay now faces a battle to return in time to feature for Netherlands at Euro 2020.

"We expect Memphis' injury to be quite serious," Juninho told OL TV.

"We expect it to keep him out for the rest of the season. He's our captain and I'm sad for him."

Depay's injury came after they had also lost Jeff Reine-Adelaide to a suspected meniscus problem, with reports suggesting he could be out for around four months.

The former Manchester United man has scored nine goals and assisted a further two in 13 Ligue 1 appearances this season, as well as netting five times in five Champions League games.

Rennes moved up to fourth in the Ligue 1 table thanks to a 1-0 win earned by a late goal scored by 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, with Lyon sitting eighth after 18 games.

Lyon coach Rudi Garcia said: "I'm not happy with the results or the performances. The evening is made worse by the fact that we lost Reine-Adelaide and Depay to injury."

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne vowed the champions will "keep fighting" for the Premier League title despite the huge gap to leaders Liverpool even after crushing Arsenal.

The Belgium international scored two goals and provided an assist in City's clinical 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

City are 14 points adrift of table-topping Liverpool and four behind second-placed Leicester City, who they face next weekend.

But while manager Pep Guardiola has acknowledged a third straight City championship is "not realistic", De Bruyne was encouraged by the response to last week's Manchester derby defeat.

"We keep fighting," De Bruyne told Sky Sports. "I think every time you lose a game, the only reaction you can show is to win the next one. 

"Every time we lose points, we come back with a good reaction. We know we have not been at our best this year, but there are still a lot of games to play for us."

De Bruyne fell short in his bid for a stunning hat-trick, seeing one effort saved spectacularly by Bernd Leno, but he was content with his work.

He said of the goals: "For the first, the ball came with the bounce and I tried to keep composed, not lean backward, and keep it as low as possible, and, fortunately, it went low enough and under the bar.

"I think the second goal and the shot [that was saved] after were similar, but the goalkeeper doesn't see the ball [for the goal] and it gives him less reaction time.

"It would have been nice to get a third, but to score two goals and win after the struggles we have had is good. It's good to come back with a win."

Alongside De Bruyne, teenager Phil Foden made a long-awaited first Premier League start of the season.

He acknowledged the merits of featuring in the same midfield as the two-goal star, adding: "When you have a guy like this, anything can happen. It's a pleasure to play with him. 

"I can't be in a better position than I am to learn from him."

Guardiola added: "Kevin made incredible goals and assists. The first and third goals - both were fantastic.

"The reaction was always there to losing the derby. We played much better than this in the past and lost or drew, and here we win. That is football."

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