By DAN KARELL
Juventus will be without arguably its top defender as it tries to stop the most dangerous attack in Europe in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final.
The Italian club confirmed on Thursday that Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out of the Champions League final with a calf issue, after scans revealed that the injury was more serious than originally thought.
The news leaves Juventus scrambling without one of its top players and also robs fans of a rematch between Chiellini and Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, who infamously bit the Italian defender during a group stage match at the 2014 World Cup.
On the other side, Andres Iniesta has been declared fit by Barcelona’s doctors and has traveled to Berlin for the finale after recovering from a calf injury of his own.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:
PALERMO CONFIRM DYBALA SALE TO JUVENTUS
One of the top forwards from the first half of the Serie A season is headed north to Juventus.
Palermo announced in a short statement that they’ve sold Argentine forward Paulo Dybala to Juventus, following a season in which Dybala scored 13 goals in 31 Serie A appearances. While it has not been officially disclosed, the transfer fee has been reported in the region of €40 million.
“Palermo announces that it has sold outright to Juventus the striker Paulo Dybala,” the statement read. “To Paulo, my most sincere wishes for his future career, from the President Maurizio Zamparini and the entire rosanero family.”
Juventus currently has Alvaro Morata, Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez and Alessandro Matri listed as forwards on its roster.
MILNER HEADED WEST TO LIVERPOOL
James Milner has decided to ditch the sky blue of Manchester City for the red of Liverpool FC.
Liverpool announced on Thursday that they’ve come to terms with the England international winger and that Milner’s signing on a free transfer will be complete on July 1, pending a medical examination. The length of Milner’s new contract was not disclosed.
Milner spent the last five seasons playing for Man City, but more often than not he started games on the bench or was substituted off before the final whistle. He played a total of 125 games for Man City in all competitions, scoring 18 goals. He’s faced Liverpool 24 times in his career with Man City, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds United.
FIJI STUNS HONDURAS IN U-20 WORLD CUP
In one of the most stunning results in the history of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, one of the world’s minnows has taken down a six-time participant of the world tournament.
Fiji shocked Honduras and the world early Thursday morning U.S. time, defeating Los Catrachos, 3-0, for their first ever U-20 World Cup victory. Fiji’s win comes on the heels of an 8-1 demolition by Germany last Monday. Iosefu Verevou and Saula Waqa gave Fiji a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes and an own goal just before halftime doomed Honduras to its 3-0 defeat.
In the other U-20 World Cup matches on Thursday, Nigeria beat North Korea, 4-0, Brazil defeated Hungary, 2-1, and Germany defeated Uzbekistan, 3-0.
Barcelona winger Pedro has signed a new contract at the club through 2019, with a buy-out clause of €150 million. (REPORT)
Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat has changed course and has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract to remain at the club. (REPORT)
Former Newcastle and Tottenham player David Ginola says he will run for FIFA president again. (REPORT)
Sampdoria are set to appoint veteran coach Walter Zenga to be their next manager. (REPORT)
Maccabi Tel Aviv announced that they’ve signed Israeli National Team centerback Tal Ben-Haim on a 2-year deal after Ben-Haim spent the last 11 seasons in Europe. (REPORT)
River Plate coach Marcello Gallardo revealed that he has spoken with former Argentine National Team striker Javier Saviola about a move to River this summer. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? How do you see Juventus coping with Barcelona’s three-pronged attack without Chiellini? Do you believe Dybala could start for Juve next season? What do you think of James Milner moving to Liverpool?
Share your thoughts below.