Higuain is worth €90m, but nobody matches Ronaldo – Icardi

The Nerazzurri skipper has backed his countryman, who has enjoyed an impressive start to life in Turin after moving for an astronomic fee across Serie A

Gonzalo Higuain is worth the club-record €90million fee that Juventus paid to sign him from Napoli, according to Inter captain Mauro Icardi.

The 29-year-old has scored three goals in three games since joining the Serie A champions in an acrimonious switch from title rivals Napoli in July.

Icardi does not believe his compatriot was overpriced, given his record haul of 36 goals in Italy’s top flight last season, but he claims former Inter star Ronaldo remains the greatest the game has ever seen.

“Higuain is worth the money Juventus paid for him – he scored 36 goals last season,” he said on Wednesday. “There’s nobody like Ronaldo. In my opinion, he’s the best striker in the history of the game.”

Inter begin their Europa League campaign against Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Thursday, before a high-profile league clash with Juve at San Siro just three days later.
READ MORE | De Boer not thinking about Juve clash

Icardi insists his side must put their sole focus on a positive result against the Israeli side before they allow themselves to think about taking on the champions.

“I’m happy at Inter and I want to stay here for as long as I can,” he said. “I want to be successful with Inter and as captain I would love to win this competition.

“It’s only natural to look forward to the Juventus game, but we’re professionals and we need to focus on this one. If we want to qualify for the Champions League then we need to take it game by game.

“I saw part of the Israel versus Italy match, and from what I know, Hapoel Be’er Sheva are a good side. If we do what the boss asks of us then we can make life hard for them.”

Juve not a consideration for De Boer's Europa team

Having recorded his first win with a comeback victory over Pescara at the weekend, the new coach refuses to be distracted by the imminent Derby d’Italia

Frank de Boer has rejected any notion that he will field a weakened Inter side in Thursday’s Europa League tie against Hapoel Be’er Sheva due to this weekend’s clash against Juventus.

Inter earned their first win of the De Boer era in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Pescara on Sunday, with captain Mauro Icardi scoring twice.

The Nerazzurri now start their campaign in Europe’s secondary competition at home to Hapoel before hosting Serie A champions Juve three days later.

It has been suggested in the Italian media that De Boer will field a makeshift XI against Hapoel with one eye on Massimiliano Allegri’s men, but the Dutchman is refusing to look beyond Thursday.

“Absolutely not,” he told a pre-match news conference when asked about the prospect of selecting a weakened team.

“It would be massive to get three points in our first match of the Europa League group stages. 
READ MORE | ‘Dybala & Vazquez key in CL clash’

“We’re all concentrating on our next game, even if there’s talk of Juventus in the media. We’re focused on Hapoel.

“It’s normal that Sunday’s game is being talked about a lot, but we’ve prepared well for tomorrow night’s challenge and we also want to show this to our fans.

“Then we’ll think about the game against Juventus.”

De Boer believes that Inter’s win over Pescara can be the beginning of a winning run for his team.

“We’ve worked hard so it’s natural that the results come,” he added. “In sport and in life everything can change in an instant.

“We have to keep fighting to keep the positive mental vibe going by winning more matches.”

De Boer hails 'important' victory for Inter at Pescara

Mauro Icardi’s stoppage-time winner gave the hosts all three points on Sunday and their coach says his side fully deserved their 2-1 victory

Frank de Boer hailed an important victory as his Inter side won for the first time in Serie A this season at Pescara.

The Dutchman had been headed for another gloomy evening when Jean-Christophe Bahebeck volleyed the hosts in front, but captain Mauro Icardi’s late double turned the game in Inter’s favour.

And De Boer was delighted to finally get off the mark, claiming the success is a result of his team’s hard work on the training ground.

“This victory is important for us because it gives us certainty,” he told Sky Italia. “We have worked hard in recent weeks and the result was there. I saw good things.

READ MORE | Icardi set for new deal

“At 1-0 we lost our heads a little and we were too wide, so I put three forwards on that could put pressure on the defence of Pescara.

“We had 20 good minutes at the beginning of the second half, then we conceded the goal, but with three changes we managed to change everything. The result is deserved.”

De Boer’s next test sees Inter host Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League on Thursday.

Inter hero Icardi eyes new deal and Serie A title

The Argentine scored twice to help his side pick up all three points on Sunday and revealed he has a new deal in place at San Siro while admitting Juve are still the team to beat

Inter captain Mauro Icardi suggested a contract renewal is in the works and set his sights on catching Serie A champions Juventus after netting a late winner at Pescara.

The Argentine missed a number of chances as Inter trailed the promoted side, but he scored twice to earn the three points for Frank de Boer’s men and bring his league tally for the club to 50 goals.

And Icardi revealed after the game that there is an agreement in place for a new deal at San Siro, having been heavily linked with a move away in the off-season.

“I talked with the club and we have fixed everything,” he told Mediaset Premium.

READ MORE | Lethal Icardi seals comeback

Icardi also discussed the possibility of Inter chasing down Juve at the top of the table, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side having won five consecutive league titles.

“Juventus are the team to beat,” he said. “In recent years, they have won everything.

“They have reinforced [in the transfer market], like us, so we will see how it ends. I always want to win, I do not like losing.”

Pescara 1-2 Inter: Icardi leaves it late for stunning comeback

The Argentine striker was on target twice to bring the Nerazzurri roaring back for their first win of the season, while Samir Handanovic enjoyed a brilliant game between the posts

Frank de Boer secured a first competitive victory as Inter boss at the third time of asking, with captain Mauro Icardi firing a late brace in a 2-1 win over Pescara in Serie A.

The Dutchman lost his opening game in charge to Chievo before fighting back to earn a point against Palermo, and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck’s fine volley threatened to hand Inter another setback on Sunday.

But Icardi headed an equaliser to save De Boer’s blushes and then ended the side’s run of four away league defeats with victory as the striker grabbed his second in stoppage time.

Pescara have enjoyed an action-packed return to Serie A, drawing with Napoli and then being awarded a win at Sassuolo as their hosts fielded an ineligible player.

But this was a dreary affair by comparison, although the hosts had enough opportunities to win it and struck the crossbar through Valerio Verre.

Inter  had to wait until the 12th minute for their first opening, when Icardi got on the end of Ivan Perisic’s centre to prod straight at Albano Bizzarri.

That chance represented the height of the visitors’ ambitions in the first 30 minutes, though, and Pescara twice could have led due to defensive errors.

However, Miranda raced back to recover the ball when Ahmad Benali ran clear, before Bryan Cristante somehow volleyed wide when picked out at the back post by Verre.

That scare belatedly stirred Inter into action and Bizzarri had to be down smartly to repel Ever Banega’s low thump and the subsequent rebound from Antonio Candreva.

The hosts then created an even better opportunity. A wonderful piece of skill from Gianluca Caprari saw him tear away down the right and seemingly tee up the opener for Verre, only for the 22-year-old to smash against the crossbar.

Icardi nodded wide either side of half-time, while Samir Handanovic made stops from Verre and Ledian Memushaj.

With the game now wide open, debutant Joao Mario dummied for Banega to shoot, with Bizzarri blocking, and Danilo D’Ambrosio galloped forward to lash a strike over the bar.

But the breakthrough came at the other end after 63 minutes. 

Pescara attacked in numbers, with Francesco Zampano delaying long enough for Bahebeck to ghost into the box on the far side. He was brilliantly found and applied a smart finish back across Handanovic on the volley.

Verre and Bahebeck both failed to double their side’s advantage as Handanovic saved, and were made to pay as Icardi changed the complexion of the game. 

Having repeatedly directed headers high and wide, he rose magnificently onto Banega’s cross to nod into the corner 13 minutes from time. 

And, in the 91st minute, Icardi added a second, battling through Pescara’s backline and appearing to touch the ball with his forearm before rifling into the corner to end De Boer’s poor start.

Perisic: Late coaching change explains Inter's poor start

The Nerazzurri’s underwhelming start to the season is due to Frank de Boer replacing Roberto Mancini shortly before kick-off, their midfielder believes

Inter midfielder Ivan Perisic accepts it has been a “disappointing” start to the club’s Serie A campaign, but believes the late change of coach before the season has had an impact.

Roberto Mancini was replaced by Frank de Boer just two weeks before Inter’s first match and they have taken only one point from their opening two fixtures.

Defeat at Chievo was followed by a home draw against Palermo, with Perisic hoping for a better result when his side travel to newly-promoted Pescara on Sunday.

“It has been an absolutely disappointing start to the season, which was really not what we expected,” Perisic told Sky Sport Italia.
READ MORE | Thohir excited by Gabigol

“We have several new players, a new coach, so I think things will get better with time. It wasn’t easy for Frank de Boer to prepare for the season in just two weeks.

“We have to do better and start winning. The first game with Chievo did not go well, while we had chances to score against Palermo, but only put the ball in the net once.

“Now we’ve got to win against Pescara, that is the only thing that counts. We have to do everything to bring the three points home to Milan.”

Thohir excited by Gabigol potential

The young Brazilian attacker is regarded as one of the top prospects in the game, and he has been tipped to emulate the likes of Neymar

Inter president Erick Thohir has backed Gabriel Barbosa to be an integral part of the club’s revival after agreeing a five-year deal at San Siro.

The 20-year-old was one of football’s hottest properties during the transfer window following his exploits for Santos and Brazil, with a host of European clubs reportedly vying for his signature.

Leicester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus were all linked with a move for the striker, but he chose Inter.

Gabriel – who is also known as Gabigol – followed in the footsteps of Joao Mario, Antonio Candreva and Ever Banega in moving to Inter, and Thohir believes the youngster is the final piece of the jigsaw.

He told the club’s official website: “We’re proud that Gabigol has chosen to join us in order to prove what he can do in a new footballing environment, having already showcased his ability in the Brazilian domestic leagues and with the national team.

“He will play a big part in the team both now and going forward.

“Inter have always kept an eye on young talent and we’re sure that Frank de Boer is the right coach to get the best out of stars like Gabigol.”

READ MORE  | Gabigol completes Inter move

After making his Santos debut as a substitute in Neymar’s final match before departing for Barcelona in 2013, Gabriel scored 57 times in 157 appearances in all competitions, winning two Campeonato Paulistas with the club.

He also netted on his Brazil debut in the 2-0 win over Panama in March and has now struck twice in four games for the national side.

The youngster also represented his country at the Copa America Centenario and played an important role in securing Olympic gold at Rio 2016.

Now he has set his sights on performing for Inter.

“Becoming an Inter player on my 20th birthday was a wonderful present,” he said. “It feels amazing to join a club with so much history.

“I’ve already had a taste of the Nerazzurri supporters’ passion and I can’t wait to play in front of them at San Siro. It is a dream come true.”

Chelsea and Inter offer Brozovic contracts as he arrives late for Croatia duty

The 23-year-old could be moving to Stamford Bridge but the Italian giants have offered him a new deal despite allowing the Blues to open talks

EXCLUSIVE

Inter have matched Chelsea’s initial contract offer to Marcelo Brozovic after the Blues had a €25 million bid accepted but the Croatian is demanding more money from both clubs, Goal understands. 

Brozovic’s agent, Miroslav Bicanic, has successfully encouraged a bidding war over his client’s contract, which he believes is below the player’s value to his current club. 

The midfielder has been offered around €2.5m per year by Inter, despite asking for a figure closer to €4m per year, with Chelsea also falling short of his wage demands. 

Brozovic currently earns much less than the majority of the first-team squad at Stamford Bridge and wants an even bigger offer from Chelsea than Inter in order to match the salary of some of his prospective new team-mates. 
READ MORE  | Fabregas committed to Chelsea

Sources close to Inter have told Goal that he is “extremely likely” to make a move to England before the transfer window shuts on August 31 but the Nerazzurri have offered him a new deal, if he decides to stay. 

Inter have decided to accept Chelsea’s bid as they must raise funds after the recent moves for Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario put them at risk of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules

Brozovic, meanwhile, was given special dispensation to spend the morning dealing with his transfer situation as his national team prepare to face Turkey on Monday.

Croatia began their first training session without the versatile midfielder, who featured in 32 games for his club last season and played for his country in Euro 2016. 

'It's still early days' – De Boer encouraged as Inter's wait for win continues

The San Siro side remain without a victory, but the Dutchman felt they showed significant improvement from the loss at Chievo last weekend

Inter coach Frank de Boer claimed his side deserved to take three points from their 1-1 home draw with Palermo on Sunday.

The Sicilian side have never beaten Inter at San Siro in Serie A and had conceded 22 goals in their previous seven matches away to the Nerazzurri in all competitions, but they were on track to end that miserable run when Andrea Rispoli’s deflected effort gave them the lead early in the second half.

Mauro Icardi levelled things up for Inter 18 minutes from time, however, and De Boer felt his players created enough chances to have won the game comfortably.

“I think we played much better than last week, so we are all disappointed with the result,” he said. “We could’ve won 4-1 considering the way we played in the second half.  We are not 100 per cent happy, but it’s still early days. 

“We changed some little details and I am confident we can get three points in the next games.

“We were unlucky to concede a goal with Palermo’s first attempt, but today the team created a great deal.”
READ MORE  | OFFICIAL: Inter seal Joao Mario signing

Inter improved upon the performance they produced in a shock opening-day defeat at Chievo and, like De Boer, defender Jeison Murillo felt the hosts should have claimed the victory.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t manage to pick up the three points in front of our own fans, but we worked hard and kept fighting,” he said. “There’s room for improvement and that’s what we’ll work towards.

“Credit to Palermo tonight, but we gave everything and created several chances.”

Antonio Candreva impressed during his cameo off the bench, providing the cross for Icardi’s equaliser and going close to scoring a late winner with a volley that flew narrowly over the bar.

And De Boer was quick to praise the impact made by the Italy international.

“We have a lot of quality in the squad and he could’ve started,” he said.

“He did very well, you can see he wanted to make the difference.”

Palermo coach Davide Ballardini, meanwhile, knows the visitors came close to bringing their San Siro hoodoo to an end.

“We threatened to win here,” he said, “because after going 1-0 up we could’ve closed it [out].

“I compliment my team, as a draw is a creditable result in Milan. 

“Our performance was also decent against Sassuolo, despite the defeat, so I expected similar.”

Next on the agenda for Palermo, following the international break, is a home clash with Napoli, while Inter visit Pescara.

De Boer is building something at Inter – Morratti

Despite a stuttering start to the season under the Dutchman, the Nerazzurri’s board must back the new man, according to the club’s honorary chairman

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti believes new coach Frank de Boer is attempting to “build something” at the club, despite a slow start to the campaign.

Now Inter’s honorary chairman, Moratti relinquished full ownership of the club in 2013 after overseeing a successful period for the Italian giants, who claimed five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana triumphs, as well as winning the Champions League, Club World Cup and UEFA Cup during his 18 years at the helm.

Roberto Mancini’s second spell in charge came to an end in the close season and Moratti has urged the board to fully support De Boer, who won the Eredivisie four times in succession as a coach with Ajax.
READ MORE  | De Boer encouraged by winless Inter

“De Boer is trying to build something. I think he needs time and it is too soon to comment on that,” Moratti told Italian publication ANSA after Inter’s 1-1 draw with Palermo, which followed a 2-0 opening-day defeat to Chievo.

“I imagine that he has his own objectives and his own strategy. Perhaps he is doing tests to see what is the best tactical solution.

“To replace Mancini has complicated things, of course, but once you do you have to help the new coach.”

The next match for Inter, who spent big to sign Joao Mario from Sporting CP, is away to Pescara on September 11, following the international break.