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Icardi eyes Ronaldo match-up as Inter bid to halt Juventus

AFP  |  Milan 

said he was relishing the chance to measure himself against Cristiano for the first time as Inter Milan travel to on Friday looking to inflict the first defeat of the season on Italian champions Juventus and keep the title race alive.

Juventus have set a frenetic pace this season since signing Ronaldo, making a record start with 40 points after the first 14 games in

Napoli are second -- eight points behind Juventus -- with Inter Milan 11 points adrift of the champions in third.

A defeat for Inter in the 'Derby D'Italia' between the two northern giants would likely be a killer blow to their ambitions and leave Juventus free to claim an eighth consecutive title.

"I've played (Juventus) many times but this is the most important since I've been here," said Icardi.

"I won't settle for a draw. We must go there without fear.

"I can't wait to play against Cristiano Ronaldo, it will be a pleasure to have him up front. But he's not my problem, (defenders) and are there."

The 25-year-old Icardi has been in fine form this season, scoring eight goals and 11 in all competitions, with Ronaldo, 33, having bagging 10 in Serie A and 11 in total for Juventus.

Inter's last win in dates back to November 2012.

But insisted his side "are always confident".

"We're ready for the match. We're improving and playing better, every season we try to do better than the previous one."

will also have an eye on next week's decisive game against PSV Eindhoven in the San Siro, with Belgian still recovering from an

- Ronaldo's added motivation -


Juventus are already through to the knock-out rounds of the before their game against Young Boys in next week.

But Portuguese star will be looking to make a point after missing out on a record sixth Ballon d'Or trophy to former Real Madrid team-mate this week.

believes that it will be an added motivation for the striker.

"His motivation now is to win it next year with Juventus," said Allegri.

"It's the game of the year because it's the Derby d'and that's always one of the toughest, five out of five on the difficulty scale, but then we need to get to May and win the Scudetto."

Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli will be looking to keep pace with Juventus at home against second-from-bottom before their crunch journey to next week in

AC Milan bid to consolidate fourth place against Torino, as Lazio, a point behind in fifth, host midtable Sampdoria after being held by bottom last weekend.

Roma -- safely through to the last 16 in -- need to bring points back from Cagliari to salvage their flagging Serie A campaign as they sit seventh -- 20 points behind Juventus.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 12:20 IST