Sunday January 19 2020
Paratici: 'No Bernardeschi-Rakitic talks'

Juventus director Fabio Paratici insists there was “never concrete interest” in a swap between Federico Bernardeschi and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic.

Their game with Parma kicks off at 19.45 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

“It’s an important match, there’s a long way to go, but we are on the right track. We did very well up to Christmas and are doing even better in 2020,” Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

Inter were held to a 1-1 draw at Lecce this afternoon, so Juve can go four points clear at the top of the table.

“As in the last eight years, we take it one game at a time. We’d have the exact same approach to this match, whether Inter had won or not.”

Spanish media in particular are pushing the reports of a swap deal for January between Bernardeschi and Rakitic, with Barcelona also pocketing some cash as part of the exchange.

However, Paratici assured there is no truth to the rumour, even if the two clubs are doing some business.

“We are talking to Barcelona for two very promising young players, Matheus Pereira who has a very technical, Brazilian style of football who needs a different environment to truly give his best.

“We’ve identified a more Italian-style hitman in the Barcelona squad, so it makes sense for all concerned.

“The Rakitic-Bernardeschi idea was floated over the summer as part of a general discussion about players, but there was never concrete interest from either side.”

Juve will wear black armbands and hold a minute’s silence before kick-off for Pietro Anastasi, the legendary striker who won the Scudetto twice and was also Capocannoniere on two occasions.

He passed away on Friday night and had been suffering from ALS for three years.

“Anastasi was not a Juve player, he represented all of Italy and was a reference point for many Italians. I was watching a Gigi Riva documentary the other day and found myself explaining to my kids who these champions of the past were.”

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