Lazio Confirm Star Player Will Leave for Free This Summer Amid Liverpool & Man Utd Interest

Lazio director Igli Tare has confirmed that the club have withdrawn their contract offer to defender Stefan de Vrij amid reported interest from clubs including Liverpool, Manchester United and Barcelona.

Juventus and Inter have also been linked with the centre-back, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio have been in negotiations for months over a new deal, but it appears De Vrij’s future could lie elsewhere.

(You may also be interested in Liverpool Look to Bolster Defence With Bargain Bid for Lazio Star Sefan de Vrij)

“Lazio have withdrawn the proposal we made for a new contract to De Vrij,” Tare told Mediaset Premium – via ​Football Italia.

“We are withdrawing for reasons that we will explain later on. It was a choice made after many months of negotiations, but there is also a limit to how things went.

(You may also be interested in ​Inter Challenge Premier League Trio in Race for Lazio Contract Rebel De Vrij)

SS Lazio v Genoa - Serie A

“He has been an exemplary professional and we thank him for that as well as what he’ll do until the end of the season. He gave a lot to the club, just as we gave a great deal to him, but our paths will divide in June.

“It’s a matter of fairness. This is not the opportune time to give the reasons for this decision, but we had to give a response and we gave it this evening.

“It is better to look forward, as Lazio are a side who have grown in recent years and will continue to grow, because we certainly do not lack players.”

Lazio turned down offers believed to be around €12m for De Vrij last summer and during the January transfer window.

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Giacomo Bonaventura Believes AC Milan Can Haul Back Bitter Rivals Inter in Serie A

​AC Milan and Italy midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura believes his side can catch bitter rivals Inter in the Serie A table. 

After a slow start to the season following a summer of heavy financial investment, the Rossonari are now on a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions after their 1-0 win against Samporia on Sunday, with Bonaventura himself scoring the winner. 

The result now sees Milan a mere seven points behind their inner-city rivals in a bid to secure European football for next season, and after speaking to Mediaset Premium (​via Goal), Bonaventura thinks Milan can now catch Inter in 4th place.

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He said: “We are happy, we’re doing well and there’s a great atmosphere within the team. We must continue like this. We’re in good shape and the results are coming.

“I’m happy for the goal, but the whole team is moving in sync now. We are a team now with a good mix and you can tell.

“If we play like this, we can catch Inter in the table, even if we lost a lot of ground early on.”

(You may also be interested in ​Leonardo Bonucci Hails Gennaro Gattuso for ‘Creating a Team’ at Milan as Rossoneri Go 10 Unbeaten)

The turnaround in form is largely in part to the appointment of former Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso as manager in late November following the sacking of Vincenzo Montella.

The Italian has only lost three of his 16 games in charge and alongside their improved league form, are a game away from a Coppa Italia final whilst all but qualifying for the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League. 

Next for Milan is the second leg their last 32 tie against Ludogorets after a comfortable 3-0 win in the first leg, before a tough game in Serie A against AS Roma this Sunday. 

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Inter Boss Luciano Spalletti Under Pressure After Suffering Disastrous Genoa Defeat

​Inter manager Luciano Spalletti says the board will decide his future and denies rumours of a rift between himself and the club’s hierarchy after Saturday’s defeat.

​The Nera​zzurri suffered a meek 2-0 defeat to Genoa after a toothless performance at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris; a result that could see the side drop out of the top four if Lazio should beat Verona on Monday.

Inter have now won just one of their last ten matches in all competitions this term, killing any hope of winning the ​Serie A and putting a UEFA Champions League return in doubt, as further pressure is heaped on Spalletti.

“The relationship isn’t creaking, but that doesn’t mean the club are not analysing my work or that they don’t make decisions,” the former Roma coach told Rai Sport (via ​Omnisport).

“The board will assess me as normal. We are in a difficult position to make judgements because, during a season, there are more changes among coaches than journalists.”

Miranda stand in Andrea Ranocchia put Genoa ahead on the day with an unfortunate own goal before former Inter forward Goran Pandev sealed victory after the interval. The Italian centre back has since spoken out, revealing:

“When it happens, it happens, and I can’t do much about it, I think one own goal out of 186 games isn’t that bad. It was a fast-paced move, Milan [Skriniar] tried to clear it and the ball just hit my knee at the precise angle to go in like that.

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It’s disappointing but that isn’t the problem here.”


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‘Furious’ Nice Star Mario Balotelli Offered Escape Route With a Return to Italy Amid Racial Abuse

Mario Balotelli could be on his way out of Nice with Italian giants Inter and AC Milan ready to battle it out for the ex-Liverpool striker after recent racial abuse has left Balotteli fuming at the French Football Association.

The Nice striker, who was shown a yellow card for complaining to the referee about racist chants during Nice’s 3-2 defeat at Dijon, will reportedly (via ​The Sun) be given an escape route out of the French league by both of his former clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan.

​​Balotelli, who has scored an impressive 20 goals for Nice this season, was booked by referee Nicolas Rainville who has since been informed by the Representative Council of Black Associations in France that they ​intend to sue him due to his actions. 

Rainville maintains that he didn’t hear any abuse from the fans, the French league have since announced that they are investigating the situation but that it remains unlikely that any findings will be announced until mid-March, and until that time the yellow card will stay on the Italian’s file meaning he could be suspended if he picks up more cautions – something Balotell’s all to familiar with.

In the aftermath of the events it seems the two Milan based Italian giants are ready to take a gamble on the former Manchester City striker, as they prepare to table a bid to bring the Italian back to the San Siro.

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Balotelli, who was the first black Italian to play for the Italian National team when he made his debut back in , started his career at Inter before joining up with manager Roberto Mancini at Manchester City in 2010 he would go on to play for the other San Siro club, AC Milan, in 2013 and again a year later whilst on loan from Liverpool.

Despite his struggles at Liverpool, scoring just one Premier League goal, he signed for Nice on deadline day in 2016 on a free transfer and has since re-kindled his career as the 27-year old striker has found the back of the net with relative ease since settling into life on the coast of France.

It seems his good form hasn’t gone unnoticed as ​Juventus were linked with bringing the striker back to Italy in January and now both Milan clubs are linked with the Italian striker too – and although the circumstances aren’t what Balotelli would’ve wanted it to be, his time in France may be at an end. 


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Mauro Icardi’s Knee Injury Adds to Inter Milan’s Current Troubles

​​Inter Milan have had another bad weekend, suffering a two-nil ​defeat to 12th place Genoa. This leaves the Nerazzurri sitting fourth in Serie A, 18 points off league leaders Napoli. 

With less than two weeks until the big derby game with AC Milan, there could be more bad news on the horizon. According to ​CalcioMercato, star player Mauro Icardi may not be fit for the game.

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - TIM Cup

The Inter Milan captain has suffered from a knee problem since his time at Sampdoria. Although recently it seemed the Argentinian may have overcome the recurring injury, he is reportedly a doubt for the Milan clash.

There was hope that the 25-year-old would make an appearance during Saturday’s trip, but the striker was not fit to be part of the match day squad. Comments from the club claim that Icardi could be involved in this weekends game against Benevento, but it is rumoured that the medical team at the San Siro are concerned about the inflammation to his knee, reports Corriere della Sera. 

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The Italian side could face losing their star striker altogether. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the Argentinian’s future at Inter, as the 25-year-old is eager to win trophies. With the owners unwilling to splash the cash to improve their squad in the summer, Icardi could be moving on. 

Real Madrid, a side who definitely will be looking to improve their squad in the next transfer window, are reportedly interested in the Nerazzurri captain. And the Bernabeu could be the striker’s next destination if Inter Milan decide to let their man go. 

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Genoa 2-0 Inter: Pandev Comes Back to Haunt I Nerazzurri with Astonishing Performance in Liguria

Genoa’s resurgence under Davide Ballardini continued this weekend, as an own goal from Andrea Ranocchia and a second half strike from Goran Panev see off a hapless Inter side. 

The in-form Rossoblu started well, pressing from the front in search of an early goal; and they almost had their reward on two occasions inside the opening ten minutes. 

A mazy – rather surprising run – from former Inter striker Goran Pandev culminated a low shot from just inside the 18-yard box being well saved by Samir Handanovic. 

Moments later, I Nerrazurri’s number one almost turned from hero to villain, when he allowed a Pandev cross to loop slowly over his head and onto the underside of the crossbar. Luckily for the Slovenian international however, he proved to the first player to react and was able to subsequently collect the ball on the goal line. 

On the stroke of half time, Genoa finally struck lucky through a rather comical own goal from the somehow always comical Andrea Ranocchia. Rather than blatantly being at fault for his side’s concession of a goal however, this time, the error prone centre half unfortunately got in the way of a Milan Skriniar clearance; which after ricocheting off the shin of Ranocchia, looped over Handanovic and into the back of the net. 

At the start of the second half I Nerrazurri pressed forward in search of an equaliser, but on the hour mark, former Inter forward Pandev emphatically dashed these hopes. 

After Skriniar cleared a corner kick to the edge of the penalty area, the 34-year-old forward was able to brilliantly control a Diego Laxalt shot from the edge of the box, before turning and coolly sliding the ball under the onrushing Handanovic. 

Luciano Spalletti immediately reacted to the concession of a second goal, bring on new signing Rafinha for the more defensive minded Matia Vecino.

Despite this attacking change, Inter rarely threatened the Genoa goal until the final ten minutes of the game, with youngster Yann Karamoh coming closest with a long range effort that flew just over the crossbar. 

In the final ten minutes, Spalletti’s men began to press forward with more urgency, but still largely struggled to any explicit chances. 

The win moves I Rossoblu on to 30 points for the season and – most importantly – 13 points clear of the relegation zone. Inter on the other hand, remain two points adrift of Roma in third place, and precariously just two points clear of Lazio, who face Hellas Verona this weekend. 

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Inter Boss Spalletti Responds to Criticism From Roma Coach Di Francesco and Club Legend Totti

​Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has taken a dig at his old club Roma following comments made by the Giallorossi boss Eusebio Di Francesco and club legend Francesco Totti about Spalletti.

Spalletti was asked about the comments made by Di Francesco, who in his press conference claimed that the teams ahead of Roma in the table barely have a shot on goal, and it’s fair to say that the Italian wasn’t best pleased by the comments, as reported by ​Football Italia.

“There are other sides ahead of Roma too,” noted Spalletti. “If he was referring to us, and it wouldn’t be the first time, I say that I agree with him.

“Roma could’ve been much higher up the table, as in previous years they would’ve been challenging for the Scudetto along with ​Juventus and ​Napoli. I assume that’s what he’s referring to.”

Earlier in the week, Totti reiterated his dislike towards Spalletti and the way the manager handled his final season, however the Inter boss brushed off these comments and claimed that he was ‘always open’ with Totti while at Roma.

Empoli FC v AS Roma - Serie A

(You may also be interested in ​Antonio Candreva’s Agent Reveals Inter Star Came Close to Joining Chelsea Last Year)

“Totti expressed himself unequivocally. I was always open to him and always will be. If that’s the way he feels, then I’m sorry, but it marks a definitive point. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Inter are one point ahead of Roma in the league standings, and it seems as though mind games are starting to creep in as both coaches look to get an edge over their opponent in the hopes of gaining an advantage in the latter stages of the season.

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Antonio Candreva’s Agent Reveals Inter Star Came Close to Joining Chelsea Last Year

Federico Pastorello, the agent of Inter winger Antonio Candreva has revealed the Italy international came close to joining Chelsea in January last year, after admitting the 30-year-old could be set for a move this summer. 

Candreva joined Inter from Lazio in 2016 where he quickly earned the attention of a host of Premier League clubs after impressing at San Siro, leading to speculation of another move in quick succession. 

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A move did not eventuate but the winger was once again rumoured to be on his way out of the club in January, but his agent Pastorello admitted it could have played out differently had a deal to Stamford Bridge not collapsed last year.

He told Rai Sport, via ​​Football Italia“He was very close to joining Chelsea in January 2017, but he had only just been signed by Inter, so it wasn’t really plausible. 

“The transfer market is closed now, so let’s see what happens at the end of the season.

“He was very happy when he arrived at Inter, as it was the team he most wanted to play for and still feels that enthusiasm today. We hope the team can emerge from this difficult moment.”

Candreva has played a key role in Inter’s season to date, notching eight assists to help guide the club to third place in Serie A. However, his agent claims a move might be forced in the summer should Inter once again fail to qualify for the Champions League – in what would be their first appearance since season 2011/12. 

He added: “We’re waiting for the end of the season. If they finish in the top four, I think he’ll be happy to remain and finally play in the Champions League.”

(You may also be interested in ​Luciano Spalletti Confirms Double Injury Blow to Inter Pair Ahead of Genoa Trip

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Luciano Spalletti Confirms Double Injury Blow to Inter Pair Ahead of Genoa Trip

​​Inter will be without two of their key players for the trip to Genoa in Serie A on Saturday evening.

Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi were both ruled out for the Nerazzurri, for whom this is a crucial game as the race for Champions League places hots up.

“Icardi and Perisic are players we always want to have in the group,” manager Luciano Spalletti told a press conference, quoted by ​ESPN.

“We did some tests but they hadn’t recovered enough in training to feature in a match with the tempo of Genoa-Inter.”

Croatian winger Perisic, a target for ​Manchester United last year, will miss the trip to the Riviera with a shoulder injury. His absence will end his record of appearing in every minute of every league match for Inter this season.

Club captain Icardi had also appeared in every Serie A game this season but has missed Inter’s last two matches with a muscular injury. The Argentinean joined from Sampdoria in 2011 and has made 170 appearances for the club since then, scoring 96 goals in that time.

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Inter’s top scorer is a summer target for both Bayern Munich and Manchester United, according to reports.

Inter currently sit third in Serie A but are 15 points behind leaders ​Napoli and 14 behind reigning champions ​Juventus. Roma and Lazio could both leapfrog Spalletti’s men this weekend if results go against them.

The Nerazzurri were still in title contention at the start of December, but they subsequently went on a run of eight games without victory. Last Sunday’s win over Bologna was their first of 2018.


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Bayern Munich Join Manchester United in Race to Sign Coveted Inter Striker Mauro Icardi

Bayern Munich have joined the contest to sign Inter striker Mauro Icardi, according to ​FCInterNews.it.

The Bavarians join the likes of Manchester United, PSG and Real Madrid in wanting the Argentine’s signature, as Inter try to urgently negotiate a new contract for the forward.

The former Sampdoria player has a release clause in his current deal worth €110m but it can only be activated between May and June, which means clubs will need to act hastily if they want to recruit the coveted forward.

Spal v FC Internazionale - Serie A

The Italian website exclusively reported that Bayern Munich are the latest side to have made an initial approach for Icardi.

Inter are attempting to get a new contract signed as soon as possible, with reports suggesting that Icardi’s entourage are asking for a salary of £6.5m and want to raise the release clause to £135m.

Reports have recently claimed that ​Manchester United could be lining up a move to bring Icardi to Old Trafford this summer. 

Agent Mino Raiola has helped Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to United in recent seasons and he now wants to represent the Argentinian striker.

Icardi started his career with Barcelona’s youth side before making a move to Sampdoria in 2011. Inter signed the striker in 2013 and has gone on to score 96 goals in 170 matches for the club. 

He’s arguably in the best spell of his career this season, scoring 18 times in 22 games in Serie A and helping Inter into the Champions League places in third.

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