Costacurta ‘stunned’ by Benzema row

Former Milan star Alessandro Costacurta was stunned by Karim Benzema telling Real Madrid teammates not to pass it to Vinicius. ‘I’ve never heard of anything like it.’

The striker was caught on camera in the tunnel during a 2-2 Champions League draw with Borussia Monchengladbach last night.

He was talking to Ferland Mendy and coming out for the half-time break was overheard saying in French: ‘Don’t play with him. I swear on my Mother’s life, he is playing against us.’

The incident was analysed on Sky Sport Italia, as Real Madrid will face Inter next, and ex-Milan defender Costacurta was stunned.

“It’s very surprising, I’ve never heard of anything like it, not within my team or the opposition, unless they were joking. However, looking at their faces, they were not joking, they were saying it seriously.

“That is truly without logical explanation. It seems bizarre that this kid just arrived at Real Madrid and could say it, but Benzema saying it is truly stunning.

“Hopefully, Zinedine Zidane sorted it out and had a word with them.”


Lazio: ‘Doubts on UEFA COVID tests’

Lazio medic Fabio Rodia confirms the club has ‘some doubts’ after the UEFA swabs found several COVID-19 cases in the squad ahead of their Club Brugge trip.

The Champions League fixture kicks off in Belgium tonight at 20.00 GMT, but 12 senior players were left behind in Rome and there is still no official statement explaining why.

“As per the UEFA protocol, the squad has anti-COVID swabs two days before a game,” Dr Rodia told Lazio Style Radio.

“In Monday’s tests, some situations emerged. In order to protect its layers, the club immediately placed the dubious cases in their respective homes.

“Over the next few days, we will perform more tests to evaluate and clarify the situation. The club had to follow he UEFA protocol and leave these players at home, despite there being some doubts over the results.

“The others are all fine, we feel optimistic and ready for this match.”

Inter were already enraged with UEFA last week when Achraf Hakimi was ruled out of the Borussia Dortmund match by a COVID-19 test.

It emerged the UEFA test had a very low viral load, so much that two further tests over the next couple of days came up negative.

Hakimi was therefore a ‘false positive’ test and Lazio are concerned such a huge sudden outbreak in their squad was created by similar situations.

The UEFA swab tests are performed in a different laboratory to the Serie A tests, and would appear to be more sensitive, or more susceptible to errors.


Skriniar return against Real?

Milan Skriniar could return tomorrow, as Inter aim to have the Slovakia international back in contention for the match against Real Madrid.

Skriniar tested positive for coronavirus during international duty and has been quarantined in Slovakia since, but he could return to Italy tomorrow.

Tuttosport reveals the defender is one negative swab test away from travelling to Milan and re-join the group in training at Pinetina.

The Nerazzurri are not planning to have him back in action against Parma at San Siro this weekend, but reportedly hope to have him ready and in shape for the crucial meeting with Real Madrid in the Champions League next week.


Castro: ‘Inter one of the best in the world’

Shakhtar Donetsk are top of their group after drawing with Inter and Real Madrid’s stalemate at Borussia Monchengladbach. ‘Inter are one of the best teams in the world,’ said coach Luis Castro.

The Ukrainians were held 0-0 in Kiev, which Real Madrid fought back from 2-0 down in the last five minutes to draw 2-2 in Germany.

“Straight after we won in Madrid, I decided to use the same XI against Inter,” Castro told Football TV.

“It was very important that we repeat that same convincing performance we played against Real Madrid. It was a different result, but the main approach remained the same.”

It was only two months ago that Shakhtar lost 5-0 to Inter in the Europa League semi-final, although just four of the starting XI today played that fixture.

“We didn’t defend well in the Europa League, as we should’ve covered Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez cutting in from the wings. This time, we tried to break up that movement. In football, you must learn from your mistakes and correct them.

“The semi-final was hugely disappointing, we needed to lift our heads and push forward. Inter are one of the best teams in the world with a fantastic strike force, so it’ll be difficult for any opponent against them.”


Liveblog: Shakhtar v Inter, Atalanta v Ajax

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from the Champions League, as Inter visit Shakhtar Donetsk and Atalanta host Ajax.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

We begin at 17.55 GMT in Ukraine, where Inter are up against a Shakhtar Donetsk side fresh from their shock 3-2 win away to Real Madrid.

The Nerazzurri were held 2-2 at home by Borussia Monchengladbach in what is proving to be a very open group.

At 20.00 GMT, Atalanta play their first ever Champions League fixture in Bergamo, as finally the Gewiss Stadium is given the all-clear by UEFA and they can leave San Siro behind.

Their first opponents are Ajax, another very attack-minded team in what promises to be a fascinating showdown.