Joao Mario posts heartfelt thanks to Sporting after record-breaking Inter move

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.

READ MORE  | ‘Maksimovic is dead to me’

“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.”

OFFICIAL: Inter seal Joao Mario signing

The Serie A club have splashed out to sign the midfielder from Sporting, following his tournament-winning exploits for Portugal at Euro 2016 in France this summer

Inter have completed the signing of Euro 2016 winner Joao Mario from Sporting.

After Sporting confirmed they had sold the 23-year-old for a fee that could reach €45 million on Saturday, the Serie A side have now announced the deal and revealed he will be presented to the club’s supporters later on Sunday.

Joao Mario played in all seven games as Portugal secured Euro 2016 glory last month and his arrival is set to be followed by that of Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa.

Inter did not reveal the length of the midfielder’s contract as president Erick Thohir revealed he had been watched at San Siro for a long time.

OFFICIAL: @joaome17 is an #Inter player! He’ll be at the Meazza tonight https://t.co/TgBQA8lvrN #WelcomeJoaoMario pic.twitter.com/X4gtadyyk0
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) 28 August 2016

Thohir said: “We are delighted to have Joao Mario at Inter. He is a top player and we had been tracking him for a long time.

“He will further reinforce what is already a very strong squad.”

Club owner Jindong Zhang was impressed by what he saw of Inter’s new signing at the Euros.

He said: “I followed Joao throughout the Euros and saw Portugal’s victory in the final. Now I hope to see him achieve more success in an Inter shirt.”

Chelsea and Arsenal want Brozovic, agent says

The Serie A side are hoping to sell the 23-year-old midfielder ahead of the close of the window, with London being the preferred destination, his representative says

Marcelo Brozovic’s agent claims Chelsea and Arsenal are trying to bring the Inter midfielder to the Premier League.

With Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa and Joao Mario about to join the Serie A side, they are reportedly open to selling Brozovic to raise funds.

The Croatia international’s representative, Miroslav Bicanic, said the 23-year-old has plenty of choices before the close of the transfer window.

“It’s true, there are many options and we are talking about some big European clubs,” Bicanic told Index in Croatia.
READ MORE  | Chelsea will struggle to reach target – Conte

“I heard that Chelsea representatives are in Milan and that Arsenal are also prepared to sign him.

“Inter are pushing to sell to one of these two clubs who are prepared to pay a sum that satisfies all concerned.

“However, I am currently in Zagreb and there’s plenty of time before transfer deadline day.

“The matter is not so urgent and until Marcelo signs a contract with another club, he remains an Inter player.”

Brozovic came on as a substitute in Inter’s 2-0 defeat to Chievo in their first Serie A game of the season. He made 32 league appearances for the Nerazzurri last term.

Inter close in on Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario signings

The Nerazzurri have confirmed on Twitter that they are set to land the star duo as Frank de Boer sets about strengthening his squad before the transfer window closes

Inter have confirmed they are set to seal the double signing of Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario.

The Serie A side announced on Friday that Santos and Brazil striker Gabriel – known as ‘Gabigol’ – had touched down in Milan, with Joao Mario also en route.

Inter wrote on Twitter: “Gabigol has landed in Milan. Joao Mario is on his way too.”

They also sent a follow-up video which showed Gabriel arriving at the airport to huge fanfare.

Ecco @gabigol al momento dello sbarco a Malpensa! #ForzaInter #FCIM pic.twitter.com/p70Z5VZMKH
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter) August 26, 2016

Goal reported on earlier on Friday that the two transfers will cost Inter in excess of €75 million.

Sporting midfielder Joao Mario, 23, played in all seven games as Portugal secured Euro 2016 glory last month.

READ MORE  | Birsa double downs Inter

Gabriel has also enjoyed an impressive close-season, with the 19-year-old playing six times as Brazil won the gold medal at their home Olympic Games. 

Speaking at the Europa League draw, Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti said the club are expecting a busy week in the transfer market.

He said: “There will be news in this last week and we will see what happens. Whoever comes will be a reinforcement and will be welcome.”

De Boer: Inter have a lot of work to do

The former Ajax man was given an indication of the tough task he has ahead in a comprehensive defeat for the Nerazzurri, and is hoping for better in the coming weeks

Frank de Boer said Inter must improve after his new side were beaten 2-0 at Chievo in their opening Serie A match on Sunday.

The former Ajax coach has only been in charge at San Siro for two weeks, and he could not inspire his players to victory in their first game of the campaign following Valter Birsa’s brace.

And, speaking after the defeat, De Boer admitted he and his team have work to do in order to make this season a success.

“We are very disappointed by the result and have a lot of work to do,” he told Mediaset Premium.

“I am confident we will improve, both in terms of the football and physically. Next week we will to try to do better.”

De Boer also added that he had tailored his line-up with Inter’s pre-season struggles in mind.
READ MORE  | Birsa double downs Inter

“I chose this system because we are not in the best shape,” he continued.

“We played three at the back based on our condition and the way Chievo play.

“We conceded a goal in the most difficult moments, the game went because we are not at our best physically. When you concede that type of goal, it’s difficult, but this is football.

“I think fitness levels influenced our tempo and that is why I decided to play with three.

“We had only one friendly match together, so I haven’t had much time to improve these aspects.”

Angry Handanovic critical of Inter

The shot-stopper has urged his side to work hard to react to their opening day defeat and has complained about a tough pre-season schedule

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic said he is angry with a lot of things after their surprising 2-0 loss to Chievo in the opening Serie A match of the season.

Life under new coach Frank de Boer got off to a disappointing start as Inter slumped to defeat at Chievo on Sunday.

Valter Birsa scored twice in the second half to see off Inter, who parted ways with coach Roberto Mancini two weeks out from the season on the back of heavy pre-season defeats to Tottenham (6-1), Bayern Munich (4-1) and Paris Saint-Germain (3-1).

“What am I angry about? A lot of things,” Handanovic told Mediaset Premium. “There’s not much to talk about today, we have to just turn the page and think about how we can work better.

“I could point to thousands of excuses but we all just need to work hard to find a way to react.
READ MORE  | Birsa double downs Inter

“It’s difficult to put your finger on what was missing this evening. Was our fitness below peak condition? We’re not at 100 per cent we’ve done a lot of travelling and had to do our preparations in this manner. I don’t think that’s the fault of a coach.”

Defender Danilo D’Ambrosio was also scathing of Inter, warning fans to lower their expectations.

“I have to admit we must take heed of the Juventus mentality, as last season they managed to recover after a very difficult start,” D’Ambrosio added via Sky Sport Italia.

“People have to realise this is no longer the Inter that won the treble and we don’t have the kind of individual talent that allows us to play as individuals. We need to band together as a team and work hard with humility.”

Chievo 2-0 Inter: Birsa double downs visitors

The hosts enjoyed a superb victory as the Slovenian scored two excellent goals, with the visitors wasting a number of gilt-edged chances on Sunday evening in Verona

Inter made a poor start to life under Frank de Boer as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Chievo in their Serie A opener courtesy of Valter Birsa’s second-half double. 

The former Ajax boss, appointed following Roberto Mancini’s departure earlier this month, only took charge of one friendly in pre-season, and his side looked like one who had endured a chaotic summer with a sub-standard performance.

Birsa’s cool strike opened the scoring – the first goal Inter have conceded on the opening weekend of a league campaign since Luis Muriel netted for Lecce in 2011 – and the same man added a second from distance with nine minutes remaining.

The Milan club started last season winning five straight matches by a one-goal margin, including this fixture, but struggled to find consistency thereon in and missed out on a Champions League place.

And, despite De Boer’s arrival, a star-studded lineup could not break down Chievo’s resolute defence on another agonising evening for Inter.

Mauro Icardi had been the match-winner for Mancini in both clashes against this opposition last term, but he was starved of service in a rugged encounter.

It took less than five minutes for the game’s first flashpoint as Andrea Ranocchia’s loose control led him to crashing into a challenge on Riccardo Meggiorini in the area. Chievo players surrounded referee Massimiliano Irrati while their team-mate writhed on the ground, but no penalty award was forthcoming.

That set the tone for a feisty opening period, with Eder eventually inspiring some goal-mouth action when Stefano Sorrentino saved his powerful low shot.
 
The goalkeeper struggled to clear the subsequent corner, but both Danilo D’Ambrosio and Ranocchia had rebounding efforts blocked.
 
Despite the array of creative talent on display, though, including Inter debutants Antonio Candreva and Ever Banega, both sides struggled to forge opportunities in a drab first half.
 
The hosts had their first sight of goal shortly before the break, but Meggiorini dragged wide of the near post after running clear from Lucas Castro’s throughball.

However, within four minutes of the restart, Chievo struck gold. A neat passing move set Fabrizio Cacciatore away to tee up Birsa, who beat D’Ambrosio and Rannochia before firing in a low finish.

Inter struggled to muster a response, with Miranda nodding a corner over the bar from their only notable chance, and the home side instead doubled their advantage to seal victory.

Birsa again grasped an opportunity to shoot, smashing a low effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner that left Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot and De Boer beaten in his first game.

LIVE: Chievo vs Inter

The hosts enjoyed a superb victory as the Slovenian scored two excellent goals, with the visitors wasting a number of gilt-edged chances on Sunday evening in Verona

Inter made a poor start to life under Frank de Boer as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Chievo in their Serie A opener courtesy of Valter Birsa’s second-half double. 

The former Ajax boss, appointed following Roberto Mancini’s departure earlier this month, only took charge of one friendly in pre-season, and his side looked like one who had endured a chaotic summer with a sub-standard performance.

Birsa’s cool strike opened the scoring – the first goal Inter have conceded on the opening weekend of a league campaign since Luis Muriel netted for Lecce in 2011 – and the same man added a second from distance with nine minutes remaining.

The Milan club started last season winning five straight matches by a one-goal margin, including this fixture, but struggled to find consistency thereon in and missed out on a Champions League place.

And, despite De Boer’s arrival, a star-studded lineup could not break down Chievo’s resolute defence on another agonising evening for Inter.

Mauro Icardi had been the match-winner for Mancini in both clashes against this opposition last term, but he was starved of service in a rugged encounter.

It took less than five minutes for the game’s first flashpoint as Andrea Ranocchia’s loose control led him to crashing into a challenge on Riccardo Meggiorini in the area. Chievo players surrounded referee Massimiliano Irrati while their team-mate writhed on the ground, but no penalty award was forthcoming.

That set the tone for a feisty opening period, with Eder eventually inspiring some goal-mouth action when Stefano Sorrentino saved his powerful low shot.
 
The goalkeeper struggled to clear the subsequent corner, but both Danilo D’Ambrosio and Ranocchia had rebounding efforts blocked.
 
Despite the array of creative talent on display, though, including Inter debutants Antonio Candreva and Ever Banega, both sides struggled to forge opportunities in a drab first half.
 
The hosts had their first sight of goal shortly before the break, but Meggiorini dragged wide of the near post after running clear from Lucas Castro’s throughball.

However, within four minutes of the restart, Chievo struck gold. A neat passing move set Fabrizio Cacciatore away to tee up Birsa, who beat D’Ambrosio and Rannochia before firing in a low finish.

Inter struggled to muster a response, with Miranda nodding a corner over the bar from their only notable chance, and the home side instead doubled their advantage to seal victory.

Birsa again grasped an opportunity to shoot, smashing a low effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner that left Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot and De Boer beaten in his first game.