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Football: Inter sign Vidal from Barcelona for 1 million euros

September 22, 2020 11:16 IST
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Arturo Vidal

IMAGE: Arturo Vidal joined Barca from Bayern Munich in 2018. Photograph: Albert Salame/Reuters

Inter Milan have reached an agreement with Barcelona to sign Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal for one million euros ($1.17 million) on a permanent deal, the two clubs announced on Tuesday.

Vidal, who joined Barca from Bayern Munich in 2018, will be reunited with Inter coach Antonio Conte, who signed him for Juventus in 2011 and where he stayed until 2015.

"The Italian club will pay Barcelona 1 million euros in variables," Barcelona said in a statement.

 

"Barcelona would like to publicly express their gratitude to Arturo Vidal for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the best for the future."

Vidal made 96 appearances for Barca in two seasons, scoring 11 goals and providing 10 assists in all competitions, helping the Spanish side win the La Liga title in 2018-19.

Irrepressible Ibrahimovic scores twice as Milan win opener

AC Milan's veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice and missed an open goal as he secured a 2-0 win over Bologna to get their Serie A campaign off to a winning start on Monday.

The 38-year-old broke the deadlock with a towering header in the 35th minute and added the second with a penalty -- the first in Serie A this season -- five minutes after the break.

Milan extended their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions as they started where they left off last season, suggesting they are capable of battling for a Champions League spot.

"If I was 20-years-old, I’d have scored another two," said Ibrahimovic, who has 14 goals in 22 matches since returning for a second stint at Milan in January.

"I don’t want people to talk about my age, I want to be treated the same as everyone else. It doesn’t matter if I am 38, I want to be treated like someone aged 20 and do the same work."

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic added that Ibrahimovic was the difference between the sides.

"They had Ibrahimovic and we didn't," he said. "Everything they created came from him. Apart from that, it was an even match."

Roberto Soriano nearly gave Bologna a shock lead after 90 seconds when his shot was deflected wide but Milan, who had lost their opening league match in the last two seasons, took control after that.

Ismael Bennacer missed an open goal before Ibrahimovic rose above the Bologna defence to head in from Theo Hernandez's cross.

Milan went further ahead after the break when Bennacer was brought down by Riccardo Orsolini.

The referee initially awarded a free kick but changed his decision to a penalty after consulting the VAR officials and Ibrahimovic fired the ball into the top right-hand corner.

He was presented with a gilt-edged chance to complete his hat-trick by Hakan Calhanoglu's break upfield but, having rounded goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski, he fired wide of the target, albeit somewhat off-balance.

Substitute Federico Santander hit the bar for Bologna, who had Mitchell Dijks sent off for a second booking in the 88th.

One thousand spectators were allowed into the San Siro under COVID-19 regulations and Milan invited local healthcare workers to take those places.

Taking a knee has become PR stunt, says QPR's Ferdinand

Former England striker Les Ferdinand believes 'taking a knee' in support of the Black Lives Matter cause has become nothing short of a PR stunt and that the real message is being diluted.

Ferdinand, who is Black, is now Director of Football at Queens Park Rangers who were criticised after both sets of players opted not to take the knee before their match against Coventry City in the Championship on Friday.

The London club issued a statement on Monday saying that it in no way suggested a lack of support for the campaign.

Ferdinand, who made his name as a prolific striker at QPR and enjoyed successful spells at Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, said the criticism of a club he calls one of the most diverse in England was unwarranted.

"This should not be about QPR. Many clubs did not take the knee on the opening weekend, yet this was not reported," Ferdinand, 53, said in a club statement.

"Taking the knee was very powerful but we feel that impact has now been diluted."

The Black Lives Matter cause was taken up by Premier League clubs on the resumption of last season following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Premier League club wore the Black Lives Matter log on their shirts but that has now been replaced by "No Room for Racism".

Whether to continue taking a knee before games has divided opinion across sport and Ferdinand believes the gesture, first performed by NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016, is in danger of becoming an empty one.

"No one is more passionate than me about this topic. I have spoken on the matter throughout my footballing life," he said.

"Recently, I took the decision not to do any more interviews on racism in football because the debate was going around in circles. People want a nice soundbite when something happens, but how many of the media who have criticised QPR over the past 48 hours genuinely want change?

"The taking of the knee has reached a point of 'good PR' but little more than that. The message has been lost. It is now not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge."

Premier League players have continued to take the knee before games since the start of the new season.

Reacting to Ferdinand's comments, anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said it encouraged players to protest in whatever way they felt comfortable.

"I agree that we need to focus on action that creates real change. We should be talking about solutions not symbols," said Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari.

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