De Sanctis: Racism against Napoli fans should also be punished

The former Juventus goalkeeper feels that fans from the south of Italy are discriminated against and is calling on the powers that be to intervene

Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis has had his say on the current debate in Italy over racist abuse, arguing that football authorities should also punish those who sing derogatory songs about his club’s supporters.

The issue of racism raised its ugly head again last weekend when AC Milan’s Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was targeted by Juventus fans ahead of the two sides’ meeting in Turin.

The Bianconeri were subsequently fined over the behaviour of their supporters, but De Sanctis wants similar sanctions against those who racially abuse Napoli fans, and indeed other people from the south of Italy.

“There are so many types of discrimination,” he told reporters at a pre-game press conference on Thursday.

“The Neapolitans are the subject of a territorial discrimination that is not considered as racial discrimination, but it is just as bad.

“Vulgar songs about our fans should also be punished.”

Turning his attention back to action on the pitch, De Sanctis believes that the Partenopei deserve to hold on to second place in Serie A and the automatic Champions League berth that comes with it.

However, he has called on Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and his colleagues to strengthen Walter Mazzarri’s squad this summer so that they can challenge for Europe’s premier club cup next season.

“We deserve to be in the Champions League, but it requires a competitive team [to stay in it],” the former Bianconeri shot-stopper pointed out.

“It will be the responsibility of the directors to put together a squad that can do well in a tournament that is the most important stage in world football.”

Napoli, who play Pescara this weekend, are currently seven points ahead of third-placed AC Milan, and eight clear of Fiorentina, in the battle for Champions League football.

Dortmund confirm Gotze fee

BVB disclosed the details of the €37 million deal, which will see the playmaker become the most expensive German player in history when he joins Bayern Munich, on Thursday

Borussia Dortmund boss have confirmed that they will receive €37 million from Bayern Munich for attacking midfielder Mario Gotze.

After details of the transfer were leaked to the press on Monday night, die Schwarzgelben announced the following morning that the Germany international would be moving to the Allianz Arena this summer, with their Bundesliga rivals following suit later in the day.

It was widely reported at the time that the buy-out clause Bayern had agreed to meet was €37m and, on Thursday, Dortmund confirmed that this was the case in an ad-hoc press release.

The timing of the announcement of the Gotze deal, coming as it did on the eve of Dortmund’s Champions League first-leg semi-final clash with Real Madrid, caused great controversy.

Gotze, for his part, has apologised for the furore caused by the deal and thanked his club’s fans for sticking by him in Wednesday night’s sensational 4-1 rout of los Blancos.

“[It’s been] a turbulent few days for you, the club and me,” the Germany international wrote on his Facebook page. “Thanks a lot for your support yesterday …”

Gotze’s €37m transfer to Bayern will make him the most expensive German player in history.

Marquinhos plays down Barcelona link

The 18-year-old Roma centre-half said “you can never say never” in response to reports linking him with a summer move to Camp Nou but says he is happy in Italy

Roma defender Marquinhos has moved quickly to play down his interest in a move to Barcelona by declaring his intention to stay at the Serie A side.

The Brazilian arrived at the Stadio Olimpico last summer but is already being linked with the Blaugrana, and the teenager defender admitting earlier this week that he could not possibly rule out taking up residence at Camp Nou.

However, Marquinhos has now professed his love for the Giallorossi and says he has no intention of leaving the Italian capital any time soon.

“I’m a Roma player, I have a contract and I’m very happy to be here,” the 18-year-old told Sky Sport Italia on Thursday.

“I made the choice to come here together with my family and my agent, and I am happy with the decision. I have another four years on my contract.

“I was badly misinterpreted by comments [earlier this week]. I only wanted to say that I am thinking just of training and playing because everything else is taken care of by my agent and the club.”

Marquinhos, who has not yet been capped at senior level by Brazil, joined the Giallorossi from Corinthians last July.

Huntelaar: I'll stay at Schalke no matter what

The prolific Dutch striker says he will remain at the Veltins Arena even if the side do not qualify for the Champions League, which he concedes would be a “disaster”

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has underlined his commitment to Schalke by declaring that he will remain in Gelsenkirchen even if the club fails to secure European football for next season.

Die Knappen are still on course to qualify for the Champions League, as they currently sit fourth in the Bundesliga, but just two points separate Jens Keller’s men from eighth-placed Hamburg, whom they face at the Veltins Arena this weekend.

Consequently, a place in Europe is far from assured but Huntelaar has moved to ease the fears of his club’s fans by saying that he will stay put no matter what happens between now and the end of the season.

“To not qualify for Europe would be a disaster for us players and the club,” the striker conceded. “But I will stay anyway. I am very comfortable at this club and in the Bundesliga.”

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt recently lashed out the players over their inconsistent form this term and Huntelaar concedes that the criticism was justified.

“This season we have not had the stability, irrespective of the opponent, of the previous year,” the former Real Madrid forward confessed.

“I’m certain that all the players are eager to finish fourth. Horst Heldt wants to win and we want to win.

“He is the boss and he has the right to criticise. We now have to concentrate all our energy on achieving our goals as a team.”

Huntelaar has proven a big hit in Gelsenkirchen since joining from AC Milan in 2010.

Lewandowski will be at Dortmund next season, claims Klopp

The 45-year-old coach says that he has heard nothing of the Poland striker’s alleged agreement with Bayern Munich over a summer switch to the Allianz Arena

Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has stated that Robert Lewandowski will still be at Signal Iduna Park next season.

The Poland international’s agent has claimed that his client, who has just over a year left on his current contract with die Schwarzgelben, will be joining Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich this summer.

However, Klopp insists that he knows nothing of Lewandowski’s alleged move to the Allianz Arena and claims that he has been left baffled by the comments made by the striker’s representative, Maik Barthel.

“My understanding is that Robert will still be here next year,” the Dortmund coach told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.

“The fact is that we are going very well this season. Why should we care about next year? Nobody knows what will happen next year.

“I cannot understand why an agent is speaking about a player that is under contract. I have many strange thoughts about all of this.”

Meanwhile, Klopp revealed that Lewandowski’s international and club colleague, Lukasz Piszczek, is a doubt for the second leg of Dortmund’s Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid.

“He’s definitely out of the game against [Fortuna] Dusseldorf this weekend,” the coach explained. “And it’s even going to be tight for the return fixture against Madrid on Tuesday.”

Dortmund hammered los Blancos 4-1 in Wednesday night’s first leg at Signal Iduna Park, with Lewandowski scoring all of the home side’s goals and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing Jose Mourinho’s side’s solitary away strike.