The Portugal international, who emerged through the Primeira Liga side’s academy, has paid tribute to the club after completing a switch to the Serie A giants
Joao Mario has thanked Sporting and their fans after completing a €45million transfer to Inter.
The midfielder, one of the star performers in Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 campaign, has moved to the Serie A club for a record fee for a Portuguese player sold by a Primeira Liga outfit.
It also equals the highest amount received for a player by a Portuguese club, set when Monaco signed James Rodriguez from Porto in 2013.
Joao Mario joined Sporting at the age of 11 after a spell with Porto and progressed through their highly respected youth academy before making his debut in a Europa League defeat to Lazio in 2011.
And he was eager to pay tribute to everyone at the club after departing to Inter.
“Where to start…,” he wrote on his official Instagram page. “A wonderful 14 years that I won’t forget, no matter what happens!
A photo posted by Joao Mario (@joaome17) on Aug 27, 2016 at 2:31pm PDT
“At this time, only the word ‘thanks’ comes to mind. I thank Sporting for everything they did for me. From my first day, I knew I had made the right choice, and I thank all the people who were part of this story.
“To all the directors, all the coaches I have had, all the people who worked for years at the academy, I say THANK YOU! You will all be in my heart, like all the sportinguistas.
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“From today, I am more of a fan who will cheer on Sporting, and it starts tomorrow!
“Thanks to Inter for this opportunity and for all the affection I have had during today. I’m eager to start.”