Inter Complete the Loan Signing of Barcelona Star Rafinha With Option to Make Deal Permanent

?Serie A side Internazionale have announced reaching a deal to sign Brazilian midfielder Rafinha on loan from Spanish giants Barcelona.

The 24-year-old dropped down the pecking order at the Camp Nou due to fitness issues, but will hope to resurrect his career at Inter, where he will remain until the end of the season.

The Nerazzurri have the option to purchase the player for €35m plus bonuses, before the end of the current campaign.

Speaking to the InterTV after the move, Rafinha, who will where the number eight shirt, said: “I’m really happy, it’s a great feeling to be here. It’s an important stage in my life and I had a lot of desire to approach this new phase in my career. 

“There have been a lot of important players at Inter who have made history. I want to do my best and give everything to finish as high as possible and win titles with this shirt.”

“I hope to play in as many matches as possible and help the team to reach our objective which is Champions League qualification.” 

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga

Having joined the Catalan side at the age of 13, Rafinha came up through the club’s famed La Masia academy, blossoming into a first-team star and making his debut back in 2011.

With Barcelona recently completing the capture of Rafinha’s compatriot Philippe Coutinho from Premier League side Liverpool, opportunities would have been limited in any case.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde previously revealed having discussed the move with the player, making it clear that he needed to go out and play elsewhere for the time being.

“I spoke to him about his injury and my opinion was that he needs to play minutes and in Barcelona it would be complicated after our last market movements,” the coach explained.

“Our idea is to let him to play after a long time off and if he played against Espanyol it was because I thought he could help.”

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In his time at Barcelona, Rafinha won nine trophies including a Champions League, two league titles and three Copas del Rey.


Atletico Madrid Star Nicolas Gaitan Given 5 Options for Move With Player Not Keen on Swansea City

?Atletico Madrid star Nicolas Gaitan has reportedly been given five options for a move this month, with the player said to not be in favor of a move to ?Swansea City.

According to ??Marca, Gaitan is looking for a move away from Atletico in this window with five clubs said to be after the Argentine. The five clubs interested are Boca Juniors, C.F. Monterrey, ?Inter Milan, Shanghai Shenhua and the aforementioned Swansea. 

The report goes on to state that a move will happen in this window, but Gaitan must hurry up and decide on where he wants to play his football. It was ?reported recently that super-agent Jorge Mendes, the agent of Gaitan, began working with Swansea as part of their recruitment team – with Gaitan said to be a top target.

However despite the efforts from Mendes, the report claims that Gaitan is not keen on a move to bottom of the table Swansea and that he will look elsewhere. 

The Argentine has failed to set the world alight since moving to Atletico from Benfica back in 2016. The winger has featured predominantly from the bench for Atletico, with the Argentine only making six appearances in the league so far this season – five from the bench.

As for Atletico, they recently brought back Vitolo from a loan spell at Las Palmas, as the player could not play for Atletico until January due to the clubs transfer ban. The Spaniard is set to replace Gaitan in the Atletico squad. 

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Los Rojiblancos take on Sevilla in the second leg of their quarter-final clash in the Copa Del Rey on Tuesday night. Sevilla go into the game with a 2-1 lead, and after Atletico’s slip up against Girona at the weekend, Los Rojiblancos could well exit the competition on Tuesday.


Rafinha Completes Inter Medical as Barcelona Midfielder Edges Towards Serie A Switch

?Inter Milan are set to shortly complete the signing of Barcelona midfielder Rafinha.

The 24-year-old will join the Serie A side on loan until the end of the season and the Nerazzurri will have the ?option to buy in the summer for €35m

According to Tuttomercatoweb, the Brazilian has already undergone his medical in Milan, and he could be thrown into their squad as early as this weekend, when they face Serie A side SPAL at the Stadio Paolo Mazza on Sunday. 

??Rafinha, who joined Barcelona’s youth ranks at the age of 13, is yet to make an appearance for the league leaders this year, and the 24-year-old’s lack of playing time was a major factor in his decision to move. 

“Rafinha’s objective is just to play,” Mazinho, Rafinha’s father, told Diario Sport.

“It’s difficult for him to do that at Barcelona. There are a lot of good players [in his position] and it’s been similar for five years now.


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“He’s had bad luck with injuries in these last two years and he just wants to play and feel happy doing what he likes doing at an excellent club like Inter.

“We hope that these three or four months will help him get back into the Brazil squad for the World Cup. He’s going to take advantage of this chance in Italy,” his father claimed. 

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Inter will have the option to buy the Brazilian midfielder in the summer for £30m, with another £2.5m potentially owed in add-ons. However, if the 4th-placed Nerazzurri achieve Champions League qualification, the option to buy will become compulsory. 


Inter 1-1 Roma: Vecino’s Late Equaliser Rescues a Point for Nerazzurri

Mauro Vecino’s equaliser five minutes from time cancelled out Stephan El Shaarawy’s first half opener to keep Inter fourth in Serie A, three points clear of their opponents, but without a league win in six.


El Shaarawy had capitalised on an error from Davide Santon to put Roma ahead after 31 minutes, but having survived 40 minutes of a second half onslaught from their hosts, Vecino headed home with 85 minutes on the clock to deny the visitors what would have been just their second win in six.

Up against the side he left in the summer, Inter manager Luciano Spalletti made two changes from the side that drew with Fiorentina in the last game before the winter break, with Antonio Candreva and Miranda replacing Joao Mario and Andrea Ranocchia respectively.

??Roma meanwhile made two changes of their own from the defeat to Atalanta, with Radja Nainggolan and Gerson replacing Maxim Gonalons and Diego Perotti, meaning that rumoured Chelsea target Edin Dzeko continued to lead the line for Eusebio Di Francesco’s side.

After an opening fifteen minutes where both sides showed plenty of intent without any clear end product, it was Candreva who had the game’s first flash of a chance, when, under no pressure from the Roma defence, the winger curled an effort just wide of the top corner from 35 yards.

Moments later the hosts went even closer, as Joao Cancelo’s cross from the right wing found the head of Ivan Perisic at the far post. Once again, however, the resulting effort flew just wide of the post.

Icardi then had a shout for a penalty turned down at the midway point of the first half. Having turned away from Manolas and Fazio, the Argentinean then went down under the combined pressure of the two, only to see the referee wave away his appeals.


Inter continued to press and it was Perisic who had the hosts’ best chance yet just before half hour mark. After Candreva’s deep cross into the area evaded everyone in the centre, it was Perisic who picked it up on the far side, but after cutting inside of Florenzi to create space for a shot, his attempt was parried by Roma goalkeeper Alisson, and Borja Valero’s follow was straight into the hands of the Brazilian no.1.

Inter would be made to pay for those missed chances almost immediately. A long clearance forward by Alisson evaded Inter left back Davide Santon, allowing Stephan El Shaarawy to steal in and expertly lift the ball over the onrushing Handanovic to put the visitors 1-0 up.

Roma then had a penalty claim of their own turned down, as stand in captain Florenzi went down when attempting to chase a ball over the top, with replays suggesting that Joao Miranda had grabbed a handful of the Italian’s shirt.

Icardi would see a couple of half chances squandered as Inter went in search of an equaliser before the break, but with Roma’s defence holding firm, it was they who went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

After a promising start to the second half from Roma, it was Inter who came close to equalising with the first clear chance of the second period, as Perisic jinked his way to the byline, where his deflected cross had to be tipped away by Alisson.

Candreva then had his second go from distance of the evening on the hour mark, as Brozovic’s corner was cleared to the Italian, whose first time strike was on target, but straight into the hands of the diving Alisson.

Not for the first time in the match Icardi saw yet another chance go begging, rising highest to meet Cancelo’s cross, but heading some way wide, and moments later Cancelo would find himself in the referee’s book for a blatant dive inside the Roma area with Federico Fazio trailing a leg for the Portuguese to theatrically throw himself over.

Luciano Spalletti responded by bringing on Eder in the place of Candreva, and the striker almost had an instant impact, latching onto a lofted ball from Miranda but placing his shot straight at Alisson.

Icardi then took Inter even closer to an equaliser, as he turned Perisic’s deflected cross towards goal while at full stretch and from a tight angle, only for Alisson to once again prove equal to effort, tipping with the ball onto the post with little over fifteen minutes remaining, before Eder flashed another Cancelo cross just over the bar moments later.

Alisson then produced another stunning save, this time diving low to his left to once again deny Icardi as the ball fell kindly to him just ten yards out.

Finally though, Inter’s pressure would tell with five minutes to go, as substitute Brozovic’s cross expertly found Vecino, who leaped between the two Roma centre backs to thump his header past a helpless Alisson for his second league goal of the season, his first having come in the 3-1 win over Roma earlier in the season.

Both sides pressed for an winner, but with none forthcoming, two early season title hopefuls on bad runs of form were forced to settle for a point apiece which does neither any favours.


Inter Milan Flop Gabriel Barbosa Looks Set for Benfica Stay After Santos Negotiations Break Down

Inter Milan flop Gabriel Barbosa’s proposed 18-month loan deal back to former club Santos could well be facing the axe, after current temporary side Benfica refused to agree to continue to pay a portion of the player’s wages as part of the agreement to terminate their contract with the Serie A side. 

The 21-year-old, who made a €29.5m (£26m) switch to Nerazzurri after graduating from Peixe’s youth academy, has struggled to make an impact since leaving South America.

Reports suggested that Benfica were keen to cut their losses on the short-term deal they had in place with Inter following their disappointment in the Brazilian, and things looked set for the striker to return back to his home nation. 

It was thought that the Italian outfit had agreed terms with former club Santos regarding an 18-month loan deal, with a fee of around €1.5m (£1.3m) expected to change hands for their troubles. 

It had also been claimed that in order for the Primeira Liga side to relinquish any ties to the player contractually they would have to continue to contribute to Gabigol’s wages, with Santos unable to meet the player’s demands by themselves. 

However, according to Portuguese news outlet Record, that has proved a major stumbling block for the Stadium of Light hierarchy, who have rejected any possibility of themselves maintaining payments for the Inter man if he is no longer at the club. 

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The report claims that if no agreement is met, the 2016 Olympic gold medal-winner will have to return to Benfica and see out the remainder of his current year-long loan deal.