World Football Gossip Roundup: Wayne Rooney, Jose Mourinho, Mauro Icardi
So Wayne Rooney is a freckled Mancunian devil, is he? And all his fans are noisy beer drinkers ready to crash through the gates into the Bernabeu, eh?
OK, so that last part might be true. But Spanish newspaper Marca certainly raised eyebrows with its, er, unusual characterization of Rooney ahead of Manchester United's trip to Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
That story leads this Wednesday edition of the B/R World Football Gossip Roundup. Inside, we also have stories on Jose Mourinho's next job, Joan Laporta's recent dealings in England and a young Argentine striker who's becoming a hot commodity in Italy.
Read on for all the details.
Joan Laporta Not Working with Manchester City
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Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he is not working as an agent for Manchester City (via Sky Sports).
Laporta, who served as Barca president from 2003 to 2010, met with City sporting director Txiki Begiristain and Neymar's father recently in London. Neymar, a 21-year-old Brazil international forward, has been linked with several European clubs, including Manchester City and Barcelona.
Begiristain formerly worked with Laporta at Barcelona, prompting speculation that the two are working together again for City.
Laporta, however, said he wants Neymar to play for Barcelona.
I was quite shocked to read that people thought I was there as agent for another club. I am not an agent. I am a lawyer. I earn my wages doing something else, not as an agent and, as I say, it would be great to see Neymar at Barcelona.
Jose Mourinho Eyes Return to England
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Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho says England will be his "next step" after Real Madrid (via The Independent).
Mourinho, 50, joined Real Madrid in 2010 after winning the UEFA Champions League title with Inter Milan that spring. Before Inter, he managed Chelsea to English Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.
According to Mourinho, his next stop will be in England—but not at Manchester United.
Are you worried with my crisis? I am not. But I will go back to England after Real Madrid. We will see (when that is). I love everything (about England). England will be my next step.
Mourinho also said he expects 71-year-old Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to manage until he is 90.
Agent: Mauro Icardi Not Set to Join Inter Milan
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The agent of 19-year-old Sampdoria striker Mauro Icardi says the Argentine is not on the verge of joining Inter Milan (via Goal.com).
Icardi, who turns 20 next Tuesday, has scored eight goals in Serie A this season, including four against Pescara on Jan. 27. Recent reports have linked him with a move to Inter in the summer (via talkSPORT).
His agent, Rinaldo Sagramola, has denied the rumors:
There is no story. In fact, we are working for a (contract) renewal with Sampdoria. We have expressed no interest in a move to Inter, or Napoli for that matter. It is useless for Mauro to join a club that may offer him more money, but that stunts his growth as a footballer.
Napoli to Target Leandro Damiao If Edinson Cavani Leaves?
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Napoli have identified Brazil international forward Leandro Damiao as the man to replace Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, according to talkSPORT.
Leandro, 23, currently plays for Internacional in Brazil but has been linked with a move to Europe. Tottenham Hotspur reportedly came close to signing him in January.
Manchester City and Chelsea are reportedly interested in Cavani, with Napoli thought to want at least £45 million for him.
Leandro led Brazil with six goals at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Internacional denied the rumor, with club president Giovanni Luigi saying "no official proposal has been put to us" (via Sky Sports).
Fiorentina to Move for Gaston Ramirez?
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Fiorentina could move for Southampton's Gaston Ramirez if they sell Stevan Jovetic this summer, according to talkSPORT.
Ramirez, a 22-year-old Uruguayan attacking midfielder, joined Southampton in 2012 from Bologna. Jovetic, a 23-year-old Montenegrin forward, is reportedly wanted by Arsenal.