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6 Jan, 2021 14:16

‘I told him off’: Tease Zlatan out of Ronaldo clash as politician insists Milan vs. Juventus will happen despite Covid travel fear

‘I told him off’: Tease Zlatan out of Ronaldo clash as politician insists Milan vs. Juventus will happen despite Covid travel fear

Questions hung over the huge Serie A clash between AC Milan and Juventus on Wednesday night amid rumors that the visitors were facing a Covid outbreak - after Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic added another element of uncertainty.

Cristiano Ronaldo and the reigning champions delayed their journey to the league leaders after stars Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro tested positive, increasing concerns that the squad could be suffering from a wider outbreak of the virus.

Milan also confirmed on the day of the game that Croatia winger Ante Rebic and Bosnia and Herzegovina midfielder Rade Krunic had tested positive, although the likelihood of the match going ahead was thought to depend upon whether Juve had avoided any further infections before kick-off.

Roberto Testi, the medical chief at national health service the ASL in Turin, told Gazzetta: "If there were new cases and an uncontrolled outbreak was confirmed in the team, then the ASL, for the safety of the players themselves, would be forced to intervene by blocking the away team [from traveling]."

Juventus were said to be awaiting more results in the hope of avoiding a reverse of the situation they faced in October, when they were awarded a 3-0 win over Napoli after a fiasco in which the visitors said they had been told not to travel.

Social media footage appeared to show the team bus departing, and Turin councillor Matteo Marnati said that sporting authorities should "manage the issue."

"There is no emergency that justifies an intervention by the ASL of Turin," he argued.

"I can assure the fans that the competition will take place. I believe that Testi has been misunderstood."

Ronaldo, who tested positive in October, will be spared any repeat of the embarrassment he suffered when his side visited Milan in July, spurning a 2-0 lead - including his goal to double Juventus's advantage - as familiar antagonist Ibrahimovic leds the hosts to a remarkable second-half comeback and a dramatic 4-2 victory.

Milan top scorer Ibrahimovic will miss out through injury, but fans had hoped he would recover in time after he posted a video of himself looking ready for action in a Milan training kit as he dived to head a ball into a net on grass on Tuesday.

"I told him off because after that footage I was peppered with phone calls," Milan coach Stefano Pioli told reporters. "He is better and he's working well but he won't be in the game tomorrow."

Despite only playing 14 league matches so far, a win already looks crucial for Juventus after an uncertain start under new boss Andrea Pirlo.

The Bianconeri could fall a mammoth 13 points behind Milan should they lose at the San Siro.

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