Lionel Messi, others send their condolences to Ronaldinho following his mother’s death

There are reports that Ronaldinho’s mother has passed away after testing positive for Covid-19 at the end of 2020.

Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos, aged 71, passed away in Brazil on Saturday due to complications arising from Covid-19, local media report.

She was admitted to Mãe de Deus Hospital in Porto Alegre in December after contracting coronavirus.

Brazil, which has suffered over 10 million positive cases of the Covid-19 virus and more than 245,000 deaths, is one of the worst affected countries during the pandemic.

Atlético Mineiro, one of several clubs closely connected to Ronaldinho, were one of the first to offer their condolences.

Lionel Messi also sent words of encouragement to his former Barcelona teammate on the death of his mother:

Photo Credit: FCBarcelona/Twitter

AC Milan boss reveals why he refused to feature Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori in Inter Milan clash

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has explained the reason Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori did not feature in the Rossoneri loss to Inter Milan on Sunday afternoon.

The Antonio Conte’s side defeated Milan 3-0 with two goals coming from Lautaro Martinez, while Romelu Lukaku scored the third and the goal in the match.

Before the Milan derby, Piola said: “He is doing well, he has different characteristics from the others.

“But for technical and physical characteristics, Tomori is better at playing against Lautaro and Sanchez, he’s aggressive but doesn’t have the physicality to counter such powerful attackers. I’m very happy with his performances, yes,” he said as cited by MilanNews.

But during the previous derby the 23-year-old defender made some crucial interventions, crucially blocking Lukaku from scoring.

Photo Credit: fikayotomori/Twitter

(Watch three fantastic goals) Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez tear AC Milan to shreds as Inter Milan go four points clear in Serie A

Inter dominate the Derby della Madonnina 3-0 and go four points clear of rivals Milan, with a Lautaro Martinez brace, Romelu Lukaku, but also crucial Samir Handanovic saves.

This was the first time since April 2011 that the Milan Derby was played with both clubs in the top two, as last week the Nerazzurri made the most of Milan’s loss at Spezia to take the leadership by one point. These sides also met last month in an ill-tempered Coppa Italia quarter-final, which saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off and Christian Eriksen score a last-gasp winner.

It took under five minutes to break the deadlock, as Romelu Lukaku broke down the right, his assist for Lautaro Martinez was crucially intercepted by Simon Kjaer. However, the move continued and the Belgian floated a cross for Lautaro’s header between the centre-backs from six yards.

After a period of Inter pressure, the Rossoneri came out of their shells, Ibrahimovic’s back-heel caught on the line by Samir Handanovic following a mad scramble.

Lukaku was inches away from tapping in an Ivan Perisic ball across the six-yard box, then Kjaer made a decisive interception on another Perisic assist for Lukaku.

Just before the break, Hakan Calhanoglu failed to make the most of an Ibrahimovic assist, neither shooting nor accurately setting up Ante Rebic, then Milan Skriniar’s header skimmed the bar on an Eriksen free kick.

Straight after the restart, Milan had three massive opportunities to equalise and were denied by three world class Handanovic saves.

The first was an acrobatic Ibrahimovic diving header on a corner, the second part of the same move from point-blank range on another Ibra header at the back post, then moments later he flew to push Sandro Tonali’s effort out from under the bar.

However, just as Milan were pinning Inter back, they conceded against the run of play. It was a well-worked goal, going from Hakimi down the right to Eriksen, Perisic and the pull-back from the left for Lautaro Martinez to tap in from six yards.

Milan continued to pour forward and were exposed on the counter by Lukaku, forcing a tough Donnarumma save, then conceded the third when Lukaku gathered in the centre-circle, sprinted through the centre and beat Donnarumma at the near post.

The Belgian becomes the first man to score in four consecutive Serie A derbies since Romeo Benetti in 1972-73, and the first Inter player to achieve it since Benito Lorenzi in 1950.

Nicolò Barella went off clutching his hamstring after over-stretching in the final minutes. Handanovic refused to give Milan even a consolation, fingertipping a Rebic daisy-cutter round the base of the far post and smothering the Soualiho Meite strike.

Inter Milan and AC Milan name line-ups in Scudetto showdown

AC Milan and Inter Milan go head-to-head in not just the Derby della Madonnina, but also the Scudetto showdown.

This is the biggest game of the season, as new leaders Inter start Christian Eriksen with Romelu Lukaku against a Milan side one point behind using Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu.

The Nerazzurri leapfrogged the Rossoneri last week, so Antonio Conte’s men could break away or lose the top spot already.

Inter miss only Stefano Sensi with another muscular issue, but Arturo Vidal isn’t ready to start after a knock to the knee that also ruled him out of last week’s 3-1 win over Lazio.

Christian Eriksen therefore gets the nod in midfield with Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolò Barella, while Achraf Hakimi and Ivan Perisic take the wings.

Lautaro Martinez stands by Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian centre-forward having scored in his last three Serie A editions of the Derby della Madonnina.

He also found the net – and clashed with Ibrahimovic – in the Coppa Italia quarter-final last month, when Inter won 2-1 in stoppages through an Eriksen free kick after Zlatan had been sent off.

This is the first time the Milan Derby has been played with both clubs in the top two since April 2011.

The Rossoneri won 3-0 that time and went on to celebrate their most recent Scudetto.

AC Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic

AC Milan Bench: Tatarusanu, A Donnarumma, Dalot, Castillejo, Hauge, Meite, Leao, Kalulu, Brahim Diaz, Tomori, Krunic, Gabbia

Inter Milan: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Eriksen, Perisic; Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku

Inter Bench: Padelli, Radu; Darmian, Kolarov, D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia; Gagliardini, Vecino, Vidal, Young; Pinamonti, Sanchez

Ref: Doveri

Thomas Tuchel blames himself for Hakim Ziyech situation at Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel blames himself for Hakim Ziyech’s lack of Chelsea game-time under him so far.

The Blues boss told Sky Sports: “It’s my fault, actually. It’s not his fault.

“It’s my decisions. It’s the same for some other players – there were some hard decisions to make. This is a good thing – it means we have quality.

“There are some decisions for other players that means Hakim suffers a little bit. I can absolutely understand and agree with that, so it’s my responsibility and my fault that he cannot show more of his potential.

“But when I look at the schedule we can be sure that we need all of our players. No matter how hard times are for you personally, I cannot say one bad thing for Hakim.

“He’s working hard and he needs to show that he’s ready because when the moment comes – I cannot tell you when the moment comes – but we expect the best Hakim Ziyech.”

Mikel Arteta warns Arsenal, explains why he CAN’T rival Pep Guardiola as Manchester City visit Emirates

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has warned: I just cannot do a Pep at the Emirates.

The runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City prepare to visit Arsenal tonight, Emirates’ boss Mikel Arteta has warned he CAN’T rival Pep Guardiola’s Etihad achievements and resources.

Arteta and Guardiola were both educated in Barcelona’s academy and worked together with great success at Manchester City.

But while Guardiola’s first job as a head coach was in charge of Lionel Messi and Co at Barca, putting theory into practice at the Emirates is another kind of task for rookie Arteta.

And with boss Pep already lifting EIGHT trophies at City, if you include Community Shields, the Arsenal boss said: “You cannot compare his situation to the one with us. They are very, very different.

“You can share some values, some ideas and the way we were raised and educated in football is very similar because we had the same background.

“The fact we worked together united us a lot to get that chemistry.

“How do you make it work and what do you need to make it work? You need time. Sometimes you need a lot of investment, sometimes there is a group of players that can already provide that.

“You have to keep evolving and finding a way because there is not one formula that works. You cannot try to follow that because you will fail.”