x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lucio to join Inter Milan

The Brazil defender Lucio is leaving Bayern Munich to join Italian champions Inter Milan, where he is expected to sign a three-year contract.

MUNICH // The Brazil defender Lucio is leaving Bayern Munich to join Italian champions Inter Milan, where he is expected to sign a three-year contract. Bayern agreed today to release Lucio from his contract, which had another year to run, ending weeks of speculation over the 31-year-old's Brazil team captain's future. Bayern manager Uli Hoeness said Bayern agreed "through gritted teeth" to grant Lucio's wish to leave.

Lucio will sign a three-year deal with Inter, subject to a medical, Hoeness said. The German club said both sides agreed not to disclose the transfer fee for Lucio, who captained Brazil to Confederations Cup success in South Africa last month. Lucio said during that tournament that he wanted to play a few more years in Europe but was unsure whether he would remain with Bayern following reported criticism from new coach Louis van Gaal.

Club president Franz Beckenbauer said that van Gaal's words were based on "misunderstandings" and argued that Bayern should keep Lucio. Lucio joined Bayern in 2004 from Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen. He has played 144 Bundesliga games for the club, winning three league and German Cup doubles. Bayern have made several major signings this season, including the Croatia forward Ivica Olic and the Germany striker Mario Gomez.

Alongside the Lucio saga, Bayern also has spent recent weeks fending off interest in France winger Franck Ribery from Real Madrid. Hoeness said an internal club deadline for any Ribery transfer expired on Wednesday. "It has been clearly determined that Franck is staying with us," Hoeness said. *AP