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He’s back. Coppa Italia football is set to return on BT Sport and with it Italian football’s biggest draw: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Five-time Ballon d’Or recipient Ronaldo hasn’t graced the pitch for a professional game in over three months but his return to action – against AC Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg – is live and exclusive on BT Sport.
Serie A will resume on Saturday 20 June but before the league’s resumption we have two delicately poised semi-finals featuring four of Italian football’s biggest names for your delectation.
Napoli, one goal to the good from the first leg, host Inter Milan at Stadio San Paolo but first Juventus welcome AC Milan to Allianz Stadium and who would bet against Ronaldo stealing the limelight on his return to action?
Read on for full broadcast details and BTSport.com’s previews of both semi-finals.
Juventus v AC Milan (Agg: 1-1)
Friday 12 June, 7.45pm (8pm KO) - BT Sport 1, BTSport.com and BT Sport app
The perennial dominant force in Italian football Juventus return to action in search of a record 14th Coppa Italia.
Hoping to halt the Old Lady’s charge towards another title are fellow Italian powerhouses AC Milan.
Stefano Pioli’s Milan are 6th in Serie A and 27 points behind league leaders Juventus but they held Maurizio Sarri’s side to a creditable 1-1 draw in the first leg in February.
Juventus had to rely on a controversial late penalty converted by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo to escape with a draw.
Juve looked set for a third straight away defeat after Ante Rebic’s volley put Milan ahead before the hosts lost Theo Hernandez to a second yellow card after 71 minutes but a late VAR-awarded spot kick saved the 20-time champions of Italy.
Ronaldo’s goal made it 35 goals in 35 games for club and country in front of a new Coppa Italia semi-final record attendance of 72,738.
Prior to football’s abrupt postponement, Juventus were enjoying a remarkable run of form, losing only three times in 2020. They beat Derby d'Italia rivals Inter 2-0 last time out to consolidate their place at the top of Serie A.
The same cannot be said for Milan who won only once in their last five games before the break.
They suffered a shock defeat to relegation-threatened Genoa at an empty San Siro in their last game despite a late strike form Zlatan Ibrahimović.
And Milan’s legendary frontman won’t be able to add to his tally in the second leg after he sustained a long-term Achilles tendon injury back in May.
However, Gianluigi Donnarumma looks set to start after overcoming a persistent ankle problem.
For the hosts, striker Gonzalo Higuaín is a major doubt after picking up a muscle strain after returning to training.
All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo as Italian football gets up-and-running once again.
Can the Portuguese superstar pick up where he left off and fire Juve to another Coppa Italia final?
Napoli v Inter Milan (Agg: 1-0)
Saturday 13 June, 7.45pm (8pm KO) - BT Sport 1, BTSport.com and BT Sport app
In another unmissable meeting of two Italian giants, Napoli host Inter Milan at Stadio San Paolo.
Fabian Ruiz’s superb curling effort condemned Antonio Conte’s Inter to only their second domestic defeat of the season in the first leg at San Siro in February.
Spanish midfielder Ruiz, who has courted interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid after producing some impressive performances since joining Napoli from Real Betis in 2018, bent a left-footed strike around Daniele Padelli and into the top corner to secure a crucial away goal for Gennaro Gattuso’s side.
Ex-Premier League players Romelu Lukaku, Christian Eriksen, Victor Moses and Alexis Sanchez all featured for the visitors but Inter failed to fashion any clear cut chances in Milan.
However, Lukaku and Argentine Lautaro Martinez have scored 16 goals away from the San Siro this season – the most of any front two across Europe’s top-five leagues and Conte will hope his deadly duo can pick up where they left off before the break.
Napoli, who dumped out defending champions Lazio en route to the last four, were unbeaten in five games before the season’s postponement and had lost just twice in their last 10.
Lorenzo Insigne and all-time record goal scorer Dries Mertens are set to lead the line for the hosts who have a fully fit squad to choose from with the exception of central defender Kostas Manolas.
Seven-time Coppa Italia winners Inter lost three of their last five games in all competitions, including a 2-0 defeat to league leaders and fellow semi-finalists Juventus.
Reports suggest that Conte may have to shuffle his defensive options as Alessandro Bastoni and Stefan de Vrij are both doubts.
Goals are expected in Naples as two of the most potent attacking forces in Europe face off with a place in the Coppa Italia final on the line.
BT Sport is the only place to watch Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as Italian football gets back underway with two unmissable Coppa Italia semi-final second legs. If you’re not a subscriber, sign up for a contract-free monthly pass.