MILAN (AP):Gonzalo Higuain will face the wrath like that of a scorned lover when he returns to Napoli for the first time since his move to bitter rivals Juventus.The love Napoli fans had for Higuain swiftly turned to hatred following his transfer for an Italian-record US$100 million after scoring 36 goals last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record.This is the first chance Napoli fans have had to vent their animosity at their former hero, as they were banned from attending the reverse fixture for security reasons. Higuain’s reception is expected to include a barrage of whistles and insults.”I don’t know what kind of welcome he will get,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said.”Normally, the Napoli fans are very generous. There have been moments of anger, but those derived from the jealousy of those who felt a bit betrayed.”With 71 league goals in 104 Serie A matches for Napoli in the past three seasons, Higuain’s popularity in Naples was beginning to approach that of Diego Maradona, his fellow Argentine who led Napoli to its only two league titles in 1987 and 1990.When the transfer was announced in July, Napoli fans publicly threw their Higuain shirts, banners, and scarves into the trash.All this adds spice to one of the most fiercely contested fixtures in Italy, which will be played twice in quick succession. The league match on Sunday is followed three days later by the return leg of their Italian Cup semi-final.Security has been stepped up, and it is partly down to safety fears that Juventus are not staying in Naples between the fixtures.Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon hopes all the focus will stay on the pitch.”Higuain will be honoured by Sarri’s words, but there is a match to be played, a post-match to manage well,” Buffon said. “Napoli-Juventus is too important an advert for Italian football to get lost in small or paltry matters, which don’t help anyone.”
Leading the attack with Ronaldo is likely to be 22-year-old Andre Silva, who made his tournament debut last year at the Confederations Cup when Portugal finished third.Gelson Martins and Goncalo Guedes drifted in and out of the team in the last two years but made into the World Cup squad, as did veteran Ricardo Quaresma.Nani and Eder, whose goal in extra time sealed the Euro 2016 victory over France, were left out of the tournament in Russia.GROUP GAMESPortugal opens against Spain on June 15 and then plays Morocco on June 20 in Moscow, where the team is based. The Group B schedule will conclude against Iran on June 25.FULL SQUADGoalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas) Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding COACHThe softly-spoken Santos spent most of his career coaching clubs in Greece and Portugal, including Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, before being handed the Greece national team job in 2010.As Portugal was failing to advance from its group in 2014, Santos was becoming the first coach to lead Greece into a World Cup knockout phase.GOALKEEPERSRui Patricio of Sporting Lisbon should be starting in goal for another tournament after keeping clean sheets in the semifinals and final at Euro 2016.ADVERTISEMENT Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial MOST READ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls The five-time world player of the year is leading a squad that broke through to win its first major title at the 2016 European Championship.“Ronaldo is crucial,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said, “but we know that to win we need to play well as a team.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSantos accepts that Portugal is not among the leading contenders for the title in Russia, even though there’s a familiar look about the squad. From the team that started in the final against France two years ago, only Nani and Renato Sanches will not make it to Russia.Here’s a closer look at the Portugal team: Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, center, passes the ball during a team training session, in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, Monday, June 4 2018. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)Portugal has received assistance from Real Madrid in its quest for a first World Cup title, even though it plays Spain in the opening game.By allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to sit out less meaningful matches, Madrid’s management of the 33-year-old forward in the twilight of his career means he should not be worn out in Russia.ADVERTISEMENT In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Pistons land ex-Raptors coach Dwane Casey with 5-year deal The reserves will be Anthony Lopes and Beto, with Benfica’s Bruno Varela as a reserve option.DEFENDERSJust like at every major tournament since Euro 2008, expect to see veterans Pepe and Bruno Alves in command in central defense.Cedric Soares is preferred at right back, with Borussia Dortmund defender Raphael Guerreiro likely on the left.Jose Fonte and Ruben Dias will be Santos’ main replacement options in the middle of the defense.MIDFIELDERSJoao Mario and William Carvalho are expected to anchor the midfield again, with Adrien Silva and Joao Moutinho fighting for a spot as attacking midfielders along with Bernardo Silva.But Santos will be without Euro 2016 starter Danilo Pereira after the defensive midfielder sustained a partial tear on his left Achilles tendon while playing with Porto. He also didn’t call up Andre Gomes, who had a disappointing season with Barcelona.FORWARDSThis is Ronaldo’s domain. After a slow start to the season, Ronaldo has rediscovered his scoring consistency at Real Madrid since January. View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES
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