Juventus deny Pirlo speculation

ROME - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Serie A matches.

Juventus sporting director Beppe Marotta has laughed off newspaper speculation that the Turin club might try to sign Andrea Pirlo from AC Milan with his Rossoneri contract expiring at the end of the season.

"There is nothing true in these rumours," Marotta told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Lecce.

He also said talks to prolong Alessandro Del Piero's contract for another season were progressing and that turning Alberto Aquilani's loan from Liverpool into a permanent move was a priority.

Leaders AC Milan have said Gennaro Gattuso can keep the vice captain's role at Chievo on Sunday despite his altercation with Tottenham Hotspur assistant coach Joe Jordan after Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League last-16 first leg defeat.

"He is not a criminal," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani told reporters.

Third-placed Inter Milan, who closed to within five points of Milan with a midweek win over Fiorentina, host Cagliari on Saturday without injured trio Wesley Sneijder, Lucio and Diego Milito while Cristian Chivu is banned.

Palermo visit Bologna on Saturday with their Champions League dream fading but coach Delio Rossi is safe in his job for now, club president Maurizio Zamparini told reporters.

"At the very last he will stay until the end of the season, then there is the option of a renewal and we are seeing what happens between now and May," he said. Palermo's Uruguayan forward Abel Hernandez was robbed at gunpoint but could play despite being shaken up.

Second-placed Napoli welcome Catania on Sunday with striker Giuseppe Mascara set to face his old side as Ezequiel Lavezzi is banned.

Lazio in fourth will be without injured captain Stefano Mauri for Sunday's home encounter with bottom side Bari, who will look to build on last weekend's 0-0 draw with Genoa in Bortolo Mutti's first game in charge.