Madrid target Icardi could stay at Inter forever, says Spalletti

Luciano Spalletti is hopeful Mauro Icardi will never leave Inter, despite reported interest from Real Madrid.

Icardi has been in sparkling form again this season, scoring 13 goals in as many Serie A games as the Nerazzurri lie second in Serie A heading into Saturday’s away clash with Cagliari.

Inter 12/1 to win Scudetto

That scoring streak has unsurprisingly seen the 24-year-old linked with a big-money move to European champions Madrid, but Spalletti has confidence his captain is happy at San Siro.

When rumours of Madrid’s interest were put to Spalletti in his pre-match news conference, the Inter boss replied: “Who does not want Icardi?

“I love him at Inter and when I talk to him I can sense that the city, his team-mates, the club, the fans are all things to which he is strongly attached.

“I am convinced he can stay at Inter forever.”

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Inter are two points behind Napoli at the top of the table and two ahead of champions Juventus, with Spalletti stressing the importance of continued hard work if his players are to ensure they remain in the title race.

“For now there is not [a gap to the top teams] anymore, but we have to carry on what we have done,” he said.

“Every match, we have to start from scratch and put our quality on the field. We must play without respite – that is our motto.”

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Zidane reiterates Bale importance to Madrid amid Arsenal & Man Utd links

Zinedine Zidane has talked up Gareth Bale’s importance to Real Madrid amid transfer links with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.

Newspaper reports have consistently suggested the Welshman could move to Old Trafford in the future, while Arsene Wenger’s Gunners have also popped up as a potentially interested part in recent days.

Real 4/5 to beat Malaga to nil

The 28-year-old has not played since limping out of Madrid’s 3-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund at the end of September with a calf injury, with a strained adductor muscle in his left leg having further delayed his comeback.

Los Blancos host Malaga on Saturday and while the game will likely come too soon for Bale, Zidane hopes to be able to bring him back soon and reiterated he is important to the Liga giants.

“We know what Gareth can give us. He’s a very strong player, technically good and works a lot,” said Zidane.

“He’s an important player for us and he knows that. The important thing is that we have to get him back into shape and ready to play.

“What he can give us is strength. He’s fast; he can open things up for us and can give us a lot of things.

“I don’t know when he is going to play. He hasn’t had any trouble today, but we’ll see when he can play.

Bale missed three months of the 2016-17 campaign with a serious ankle injury and Zidane was keen to point out that the former Tottenham star will be out for a shorter period this time.

He added: “I think it’s going to take less time to get back – the injury this time will not be for such a long time.

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“We’re in the same situation – we need him back 100 per cent but I don’t think it will be as long as last time.

“He’s already back in training and he’s in decent shape.”

Madrid can cut the gap to leaders Barcelona to seven points with a win over Malaga, with Ernesto Valverde’s side not facing Valencia until Sunday. 

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Mourinho fears Fellaini will leave for free in 2018

Jose Mourinho has expressed his concern that Marouane Fellaini could leave the club for nothing in summer 2018.

The Belgian’s contract expires next summer, with Goal having previously revealed that he has turned down an offer of new terms to remain at Old Trafford.

Fellaini 21/10 to net vs. Brighton

As revealed by Goal, Fellaini’s agent had approached Serie A champions Juventus over a possible more for the player, although the Italian giants are not interested in signing him.

And Mourinho insists that the matter is out of his hands now and that it is up to the board to negotiate with the former Everton midfielder over a new deal.

He told reporters: “Yeah, I am [concerned Fellaini could leave]. It is a discussion between the player and the board. 

“Discussions are under [the board’s] control. So I just wait, wishing that they will have an understanding but it’s out of my control.”

Fellaini has featured in 11 games in all competitions for United in the 2017-18 campaign and has emerged as a key player under Mourinho’s management.

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The Portuguese has previously expressed his admiration for the Belgian, commenting that he feels “weaker” without the midfielder in his team.

“He’s an important player for me – a lot more important than you can imagine,” he said back in September.  

“I feel weaker without Fellaini in my squad, doesn’t matter if it’s on the pitch or on the bench. If his conditions are improved, he will be selected, I need him.”

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Rodrigo commits to Valencia until 2022

Valencia forward Rodrigo has signed a new contract committing him to the La Liga high-flyers until June 2022.

Rodrigo penned a four-year deal when he joined Los Che permanently form Benfica in 2015 following a season-long loan spell.

The 26-year-old has been in superb form this term, scoring eight goals in 13 matches across all competitions – a return that has earned him a call-up to Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad.

“The best is yet to come,” Rodrigo told Valencia’s official website.

“One must have ambition to improve and grow. I still have many years of football ahead and what I want the most is to keep doing things well, to continue helping the club and to make everyone happy.”

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Rodrigo has the ideal opportunity to do just that when Valencia host Barcelona on Sunday, with the chance to trim the leaders’ four-point advantage at the summit.

“It’s an important game. It’s always special when it is the leaders,” he added.

“We are in a very good moment and they are too but we have to be confident to go out and face them in the game.”

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Youssouf Mulumbu joins Kilmarnock till end of season

Former PSG and West Bromwich Albion midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu has joined Kilmarnock till the end of the 2017-18 season.

The 30-year-old who was on parade for Norwich City last season, made 13 appearances as the Canaries finished eighth in the second tier of the English League.

Mulumbu who spent six seasons with West Bromwich Albion agreed to reunite with his former boss at the Hawthorns after impressing in a two-week trial.

“Kilmarnock Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Youssouf Mulumbu on a deal until the end of the season,” the club wrote.

“The 30-year-old has sealed a reunion with Steve Clarke after the pair worked together at West Bromwich Albion.

“After spending two weeks training with Killie, Youssouf sat down to speak to the official website about becoming Steve Clarke’s first signing and his aims for the season.

“An international transfer certificate has been received and so Youssouf is available to feature in Sunday’s match with Aberdeen.

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“Everyone at Kilmarnock FC welcomes Youssouf to Rugby Park and wishes him the best of luck during his time here.”

The right-footed midfielder could make his debut when the Rugby Park outfit welcome Aberdeen for their next league fixture on Sunday.

Steve Clarke’s men are placed 10th in the Scottish Premier League with 12 points from 14 games.

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