If Lautaro Martinez heads to Barcelona, Inter may land Timo Werner as his replacement as Liverpool withdraw from the race for the RB Leipzig star.

Martinez and Werner are two forwards linked with moves during the close season after impressive campaigns at Inter and RB Leipzig respectively.

And Werner could reportedly fill Martinez's boots at San Siro if the Argentina international makes the switch.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER COULD REPLACE BARCELONA TARGET LAUTARO

RB Leipzig star Werner is the leading candidate to replace Martinez if the Inter forward joins Barcelona, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Werner has been heavily linked with a transfer to Liverpool, but the Mirror reports the Premier League leaders have withdrawn from talks as they are unwilling to meet his £49.4million (€55m) release clause.

Meanwhile, AS reports Philippe Coutinho could be part of Barca's bid to land Martinez, even as Inter say the only way the 22-year-old will leave is by his reported €111m clause being paid.

ROUND-UP

- Will Barcelona and Juventus get an exchange deal done? Sport reports Juve are pushing to land Arthur, but the midfielder wants to stay with the LaLiga giants. Miralem Pjanic has been linked with a move to Camp Nou.

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports the club are willing to let Ousmane Dembele leave if a good offer arrives. The attacker has been linked with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain, with Neymar reportedly a target for Barcelona.

- David Luiz's future appears uncertain. Sky Sports News reports the defender's stay at Arsenal could be coming to an end after one season as his contract expires next month and no talks are planned over a new deal.

- It seems Tiemoue Bakayoko could be set for another transfer. Le 10 Sport says the midfielder, on loan at Monaco from Chelsea, is being targeted by Milan and West Ham, with PSG's interest having eased.

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga out of favour, Chelsea are said to be looking for a new goalkeeper. The Sun says the Premier League side are lining up a £15m (€16.7m) move for Borussia Dortmund shot-stopper Roman Burki.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also reportedly eyeing a left-back. The Mirror reports they are keeping an eye on developments around Ajax full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, who could be available for around £22m (€24.5m).

Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio says Lautaro Martinez will not be sold to Barcelona unless the LaLiga club pay his release clause.

Argentina striker Martinez has long been linked with a move to Camp Nou as a potential long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, but striking a deal appears to be complex.

Barca were struggling to free up significant transfer funds before the coronavirus crisis and are said to be prepared to sell a host of squad players and offer others in part-exchange deals in a bid to land their top targets.

Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic have all been touted as possible makeweights in any deal for the former Racing forward.

Inter, though, have made it clear that any club interested in Martinez will have to pay the full amount of his reported €111million buyout clause, which is said to contain certain clauses including the fact that it must be paid in a single instalment.

Ausilio told Sky Sport: "Lautaro Martinez is not for sale. Barcelona contacted us, we have a good relationship, but we told them we'll not sell Lautaro.

"If they want him, Barca must pay the full release clause.

"We want Lautaro in our team in the future. He will not be sold; the release clause is the only way. Barca know this as do the other clubs who contacted us. And Lautaro's release clause is so complicated..."

Chelsea and Manchester United have also been linked with the 22-year-old, who has scored 11 goals in 22 Serie A appearances this season as part of a formidable Inter attack alongside Romelu Lukaku.

Dejan Kulusevski has revealed he chose Juventus over Inter as he was "in doubt" about working under Antonio Conte.

The Sweden international agreed to sign for the Serie A champions from Atalanta in January, penning a four-and-a-half-year deal before being loaned back to Parma.

As well as relishing the prospect of lining up alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, Kulusevski is also eager to learn from Juve boss Maurizio Sarri.

And the midfielder drew a direct comparison with Inter coach Conte, who he was not so sure about.

"[Sarri] was nice. He put me at ease. I knew his Chelsea and his style of play," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"That's also why I chose to play for the Bianconeri. 

"With Conte, the movements are different, the tactical set-up. That was why I was in doubt."

Reflecting on his arrival at Allianz Stadium, Kulusevski was delighted to be welcomed by Ronaldo among several of his new team-mates.

"What a thrill that day at the stadium, a unique atmosphere," the 20-year-old said. "And CR7 said to me: 'Welcome Dejan, how are you?'

"[Gianluigi] Buffon and [Giorgio] Chiellini were nice to me too. An immense joy for a boy who had only seen them on TV.

"I hope we go far in every competition and above all that we will win the Champions League."

With Italian football still in a coronavirus-enforced shutdown, Kulusevski will not be able to make his debut until the new season begins but he is looking forward to the challenge.

"I'm on the right track, I feel stronger every day and ready to face new challenges," he said. "I'm attracted to the idea of testing myself against the best.

"I go there to learn; I can't wait to link up with Dybala and his magical left foot.

"In any case, I now know how to play in multiple positions, and I plan to claim my place in Turin too."

Edinson Cavani would make a fearsome partnership with Romelu Lukaku at Inter but would "enjoy some more glorious years" if he moved to Atletico Madrid, says his former Napoli team-mate Andrea Dossena.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Cavani will be out of contract at the end of June and has been heavily linked with Inter and Atletico Madrid, the latter of whom he had been widely tipped to join in January.

The 33-year-old spent three seasons at Napoli between 2010 and 2013, winning the 2011-12 Coppa Italia alongside Dossena.

Former Italy international Dossena does not believe it is time for Cavani to hang up his boots and feels he would be a success at Inter or Atletico.

Dossena told Stats Perform News: "I remember his unbelievable work ethic, his hunger for success. Just a few players can boast it. He had this will to beat record after record that was unique.

"For sure he shouldn't think about retiring, at all. I read he has got two options: Atletico Madrid and Inter.

"He would work either way with two exceptional managers who can get 1,000 per cent from each player. Either way he would find a great destination.

"I wish he could go back to Italy, working with Antonio Conte as a manager and Lukaku as a forward partner.

"This would be a very interesting pair, but should he join Atleti. He would work with [Diego] Simeone and enjoy some more glorious years."

Manchester City look set to have to fill a void in their squad.

Germany international Leroy Sane is tipped to swap City for Bayern Munich.

And Leon Bailey has reportedly emerged as a target for City.

 

TOP STORY – SANE OUT, BAILEY IN AT CITY?

Manchester City are targeting Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey as a replacement for Leroy Sane, according to the Daily Mail.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are hoping to sign City star Sane in the off-season.

Should Sane complete his return to Germany, Bailey has been identified by Pep Guardiola's City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport claims Juventus have warned Paul Pogba he will have to accept a drastic cut to his salary if the Manchester United star is to return to the Serie A champions. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve and LaLiga giants Real Madrid. The Red Devils have reportedly re-opened the door to Juve over a possible deal.

Luka Jovic wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu and turn things around with Madrid, reports Marca. The Serbia forward, who has struggled since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt, has emerged as a target for Milan.

- Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik is pushing for a move to Juve, says Calciomercato. The Poland international is a free agent in 2021 and is valued at €40million by Napoli, though he is hoping to lower the club's demands.

Juve are desperately trying to convince Arthur to leave Barcelona for Turin, according to Mundo Deportivo. Juve want Arthur to replace Miralem Pjanic, who is reportedly close to swapping clubs.

- Onda Cero says Barca could recall Philippe Coutinho from his loan spell at Bayern. With Bayern opting not to exercise their option to purchase Coutinho, the Brazilian could find himself back at Camp Nou ahead of LaLiga's proposed resumption.

Inter have been in contact with Edinson Cavani's entourage over a move to San Siro, says Calciomercato. Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani is coming out of contract and could replace Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who is wanted by Barca.

- The Daily Mail claims Barca will listen to loan offers for Ousmane Dembele. The injury-prone Frenchman has previously been linked to PSG, Juve, Arsenal, United and Liverpool.

Pirelli chief executive Marco Tronchetti wants Inter to sign RB Leipzig star Timo Werner and Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani amid doubts over Lautaro Martinez.

Inter forward Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona, who have reportedly identified the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

According to reports, Antonio Conte's Inter have put together a list of potential replacements, including Liverpool target Werner and soon-to-be free agent Cavani.

Tronchetti – CEO of Pirelli who are Inter's shirt sponsor – advised the Nerazzurri to chase Werner and Cavani.

"For example, we left Inter with a 'regista' who was supposed to change the team in [Christian] Eriksen," Tronchetti told Gr Parlamento.

"Cavani's been able to do extraordinary things and I hope he can repeat them in Nerazzurro.  In Serie A there are other expert players, above all Cristiano Ronaldo, who are proving to be great champions. Age is not a limit, he [Cavani] can be a good choice.

"It's clear that selling Lautaro would hurt, but with Cavani and Werner we could be stronger than with Lautaro and [Mauro] Icardi, especially if Eriksen returns to his Tottenham form."

Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 matches across all competitions before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Werner bagged a hat-trick for Leipzig in their 5-0 rout of Mainz in the Bundesliga on Sunday, taking his tally for the season to 30 goals in 38 appearances.

Cavani – who has been linked to LaLiga's Atletico Madrid and clubs in MLS – had netted four Ligue 1 goals in 14 games before PSG were declared champions after the season was cut short.

The 33-year-old forward scored seven goals in all competitions for PSG in 2019-20.

Lautaro Martinez will have to earn his place at Barcelona if he leaves Inter, according to Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni.

Martinez has been tipped to swap Serie A side Inter for LaLiga champions Barca in the off-season following his exploits in Italy.

The Argentina international forward scored 16 goals in 31 matches across all competitions before the 2019-20 season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Scaloni was asked about Martinez's future amid the transfer speculation and the Argentina boss told Radio La Red: "If Lautaro gets to go to Barcelona, ​​I think the coach [Quique Setien] is going to look for a way to start him, he is going to have to sacrifice and earn his place."

"Taking Lautaro out of Inter is not going to be easy… I would like Lautaro Martinez to play, to have continuity," Scaloni added.

"Lautaro has one thing that he runs for him and for his team-mate. He will be the reference striker for the future."

Martinez swapped Racing Club for Inter in 2018 and he has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after forwards in European football.

He has scored 25 goals in total since joining Inter from Racing Club.

Neymar's return to Barcelona could be getting a little closer.

The Paris Saint-Germain star continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

While there is uncertainty over whether Barcelona can get a deal done, it seems it may be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR CLOSER TO BARCELONA RETURN AS PSG EYE DEMBELE

Paris Saint-Germain remain very interested in signing Ousmane Dembele and it could help Neymar return to Barcelona, according to Sport.

France international Dembele has struggled with injuries since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, but the former Rennes attacker could be set for a return to his homeland.

However, Marca reports Neymar is not a priority for Barcelona with their focus on Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

Staying at Barcelona and Sport says the club are following Hertha Berlin's 18-year-old midfielder Lazar Samardzic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Timo Werner starred again for RB Leipzig on Sunday with a hat-trick against Mainz in the Bundesliga. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp held a virtual meeting with the forward in recent weeks, according to journalist Raphael Honigstein.

- With Bayern Munich deciding not to buy Philippe Coutinho, the Barcelona attacker's future remains unclear. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want to start talks with the playmaker's agent, with head coach Mikel Arteta dreaming of signing the Brazil international.

- Toni Kroos looks set to finish his career at Real Madrid. AS reports the 30-year-old midfielder has no interest in leaving Madrid, where he is contracted until 2023, amid links to MLS and the Chinese Super League.

- Odion Ighalo's Manchester United career may be over already. According to the Daily Mail, Shanghai Shenhua have rejected the Premier League club's requests to keep the forward – who has scored four goals in eight games for United – on loan for another three months.

- Could Raul Jimenez leave Wolves for Juventus? Todofichajes reports Juve offered Adrien Rabiot plus €30m (£26.7m) for the star forward.

- Less than a year after leaving Newcastle United, Rafael Benitez is being linked with a return. Benitez, now coach of Dalian Professional in China, wants to return to the club if their proposed takeover is resolved, and sign Manchester City defender John Stones and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.

Mainz did not have much joy against RB Leipzig in the 2019-20 Bundesliga season.

After suffering an 8-0 loss to Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena in November, Mainz succumbed to a 5-0 defeat against Julian Nagelsmann's side on Sunday.

With an aggregate score of 13-0 it was clearly a mismatch, but how does it compare to the records in Europe's top five leagues?

Opta delved through the archives to find out the greatest goalscoring margins between two teams in a single season.

Bundesliga

Leipzig's goal difference of 13 against Mainz does not constitute a record in Germany's top flight.

That honour belongs to Borussia Monchengladbach, who beat Braunschweig 10-0 and 4-0 in the 1984-85 season.

Eintracht Frankfurt put 14 past Rot-Weiss Essen in 1974-75 and 1860 Munich did it against Karlsruher in 1964-65, but they both conceded one.

Premier League

No side has scored more than 12 against another in a single Premier League campaign.

Blackburn Rovers had the better of a 12-1 aggregate score against sorry Nottingham Forest in the 1995-96 campaign – a scoreline Tottenham also recorded versus Wigan Athletic in 2009-10.

The only other team to claim the same goal difference against a single opponent is Liverpool against Ipswich Town in 2001-02, with the combined score from their two games being 11-0 to the Reds.

Ligue 1

The 1930s was seemingly a prolific period in French football.

After setting a record with a 13-0 aggregate victory over SO Montpellier in 1934-35, Sochaux surpassed it the next season.

Andre Abegglen scored seven as Sochaux overcame Valenciennes 12-1 and they followed it up with a 5-0 victory later in the campaign.

LaLiga

Barcelona are top of the list in LaLiga courtesy of a 16-0 aggregate score against Las Palmas in the 1959-60 campaign.

The Catalan giants won both fixtures 8-0, with Barca's Eulogio Martinez scoring one in the away game and five at Camp Nou.

Real Madrid are the only other team to score 16 against one team in the same season, also doing it in 1959-60 against Elche. However, they conceded three times.

Serie A

Italian teams have earned a reputation for being strong at the back over the years, but that has certainly not always been the case.

Milan (1950-51) and Padova (1949-50) hold the aggregate record of scoring 11 and not conceding in a single season against Palermo and Venezia respectively.

Torino scored a dozen times twice against Alessandria and Atalanta in the 1940s, but conceded twice in each of those seasons, while Inter put 12 past Lazio in the 1933-1934 campaign but also let two in.

Barcelona cannot afford to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to former Nerazzurri striker Ivan Zamorano

Argentina international Martinez is reportedly a target for Barca and LaLiga rivals Real Madrid after scoring 18 times in 33 appearances this campaign.

Inter are rumoured to have already considered Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani as a replacement, but Zamorano "has no doubt" Martinez will still be at San Siro next season due to the financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I really hope Lautaro stays at Inter. He is a young guy, 22 years old; Cavani is 11 years older and has enormous experience in different clubs. But Cavani's arrival has nothing to do with the sale of Lautaro," he told Mexican broadcaster MisionTUDN.

"Barcelona have economic problems that don't allow them to sign Lautaro, so in my opinion he'll stay, I have no doubt. 

"Cavani can be an alternative to the starters. There are many rumours - [Alexis] Sanchez will return to Manchester United and Cavani can occupy that space in the forward department."

Speculation Martinez could be on his way to Barca has gathered pace with suggestions from Carlos Blanco, the president of Martinez's first club, that a deal is "practically done".

Zamorano is adamant a transfer will not go through, however, even if Arturo Vidal is offered to Inter in a player-plus-cash exchange.

"I guarantee that Lautaro is the future of Inter," he added. "Barcelona must put €100million on the table, which is the least that Inter has asked for Lautaro. 

"[Antonio] Conte likes Vidal very much, for sure, but first they have to offer €100million."

Liverpool are apparently seeking another option in attack and Wolves star Adama Traore is reportedly one of their targets.

The Premier League leaders have been heavily linked with a move for RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner.

However, they may instead be looking at a Premier League star.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WANT TRAORE

Liverpool want to add Wolves attacker Traore this close season, according to The Sun.

Traore had scored four goals and provided seven assists in 28 Premier League games before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24-year-old arrived in England from Barcelona in 2015, playing for Aston Villa and Middlesbrough before joining Wolves.

ROUND-UP

- Following reports Paris Saint-Germain had made a bid for Mauro Icardi, who is on loan at the club from Inter, it seems that may not be the case just yet. L'Equipe says PSG and Inter are still in negotiations over the forward, with the Ligue 1 side hoping to pay less than the €70million purchase option they hold.

- Samuel Umtiti's future at Barcelona remains unclear. Marca says the defender will not leave the LaLiga giants, while Sport reports Inter could be prepared to sign the centre-back.

- Manchester City and Barcelona could be set for a deal. The Sun reports City see Nelson Semedo as a good option to provide competition for Kyle Walker, while Joao Cancelo could be offered in a potential deal.

- On loan at Estudiantes, Marcos Rojo appears likely to leave Manchester United permanently. The Mirror says the Premier League club are hoping Boca Juniors and Estudiantes enter a bidding war for the 30-year-old.

- Everton are said to be interested in Jean-Clair Todibo, who is on loan at Schalke from Barcelona this season. Sport reports the Premier League club have offered £19.7million (€22m) plus £2.7m (€3m) in variables for the defender.

Mauro Icardi seemingly has no future at Inter.

But Icardi is wanted in Paris, where the Argentina international has spent the 2019-20 season on loan.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly looking to sign Icardi permanently.

 

TOP STORY – PSG LODGE ICARDI BID

Paris Saint-Germain have offered Inter €50million to secure loanee Mauro Icardi on a permanent basis, according to Sky Sports.

Out of favour at Serie A outfit Inter, the forward was loaned to Ligue 1 champions PSG at the start of the season.

Icardi's loan deal included a €70m purchase option but PSG are determined to negotiate, with Juventus reportedly interested.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo is prioritising a move to Manchester City. Semedo has been linked with a switch to City – a transfer which would see Joao Cancelo swap clubs. Juve are also reportedly eyeing Semedo but the Portugal international wants to leave Camp Nou for the Premier League.

Lucas Hernandez to Newcastle United? Bild says the Premier League outfit are considering a move for the Bayern Munich defender ahead of their proposed takeover.

- According to ESPN, Bayern are eyeing Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho. The England international has also been linked to Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barca.

Juve, Chelsea, City and Bayern are interested in Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, says Sport. However, the German is poised to sign a contract renewal with the LaLiga holders.

- Calciomercato claims Milan are moving closer to signing Marseille's 20-year-old defender Boubacar Kamara.

- Everton and Newcastle are both tracking Napoli forward Hirving Lozano, according to Corriere dello Sport. The Mexico international only arrived from PSV at the start of the season.

Inter remain interested in Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, says Calciomercato. While Brescia's Sandro Tonali is at the top of the list for Inter, Chiesa has not been forgotten about in Milan.

Barcelona boss Quique Setien said he would "love" to coach Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar at Camp Nou.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian forward continues to be linked with a return.

The 28-year-old failed to make his way back to Barca at the start of the 2019-20 season and he is reportedly a transfer target again.

"Without doubt, I would love to be able to coach Neymar one day," Barca head coach Setien told beIN SPORTS.

"Absolutely. He is a player who is at an exceptional level, nobody can place that in doubt.

"I have already fulfilled the dream of coaching the best in the world, which is Leo [Messi]. As for those who could come in, we'll have to see, but I would be delighted."

Since swapping Barca for PSG, Neymar has won three successive Ligue 1 titles, to go with Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions honours.

Neymar scored 13 league goals before Ligue 1 was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and PSG were eventually declared champions.

The former Barca forward is not the only player being linked with the Spanish giants.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to join Barca, while Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic is reportedly wanted at Camp Nou.

"We all know that there are perhaps four of five strikers capable of playing in this role and he is one of these," Setien said when asked about Martinez.

On Pjanic, Setien added: "I've always stated that I like great players and he is a fine talent. This is true of many that are linked to the club via the press."

Former Inter head coach Gigi Simoni, who led a Ronaldo-inspired team to UEFA Cup glory in 1998, has died at the age of 81.

His death was announced by Inter, on the day the club marked 10 years since their Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia treble.

Simoni had a well-travelled coaching career and guided seven teams to promotions from Serie B to the Italian top flight, a record.

He suffered a stroke last June from which he never fully recovered and was taken to hospital when his health began to deteriorate shortly before his death, newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

Simoni coached clubs including Lazio, Napoli, Torino, Brescia and Cremonese, but arguably his finest hour came with Inter when the Nerazzurri thumped Lazio 3-0 at the Parc des Princes on May 6, 1998, to secure the European trophy.

Inter issued a statement on Friday, which read: "Today, 22 May, he left us. Not just any date, the most Inter-related date of all.

"We remember Gigi Simoni and will miss everything about him. First and foremost, his gentlemanly way of being. His way of living, both in life and football, was never over the top. His football reflected that: it was humble, functional and capable of making the most of what he had on offer."

Goals from Ivan Zamorano, Javier Zanetti and Ronaldo gave Inter their third UEFA Cup success of the 1990s.

It came in Ronaldo's first season at the club after his move from Barcelona, before the Brazilian would encounter the injuries that blighted his San Siro stay.

Simoni's Inter almost won the Serie A title that season too, eventually finishing in second place, five points behind champions Juventus.

The experienced coach was awarded the Panchina d'Oro - Golden Bench - for his achievements in that 1997-98 campaign, but lost his job before Christmas in the following season.

Lazio and Napoli were among the clubs that offered condolences to Simoni's family, on the news of his death.

Cremonese, whom he led into Serie A and also to an Anglo-Italian Cup triumph over Derby County at Wembley in 1993, paid a fond tribute.

They reflected on his achievements in a four-year stay, which saw him voted the club's coach of the century, stating: "Travel well Gigi, we will miss you but you will remain forever in the history of the Cremonese and in the hearts of all the Grigiorossi fans."

Inter's statement on their official website concluded: "The world of football has lost a great coach and a wonderful person.

"This is how we remember him: with his white hair, in our dugout, while he enjoyed the magic of Ronaldo with a smile on his face, enveloped by the fans' affection. Farewell Gigi, we'll miss you."

Jose Mourinho still struggles to explain why Wesley Sneijder and the rest of his treble-winning Inter side of 2009-10 failed to earn recognition in the Ballon d'Or voting.

A decade ago, the Nerazzurri broke new ground by winning a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble, an unprecedented feat in Italian football.

Despite their remarkable campaign, a star-studded cast including Sneijder, Samuel Eto'o and Diego Milito were not recognised when it came to deciding the winner of football's most prestigious individual prize.

Indeed, Inter did not even have a player in the top three of the voting, with Lionel Messi triumphing above Barcelona team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi, the latter two midfield maestros having won the 2010 World Cup with Spain.

Sneijder was a losing finalist with the Netherlands in South Africa, where the attacking midfielder was joint-top scorer with Thomas Muller.

An incredulous Mourinho, speaking to The Athletic, was unable to provide a reason for a lack of individual awards for his players.

"It's strange that Samuel, during all his career, never managed to win the Ballon d'Or," the now Tottenham boss said.

"Wes was amazing that season. In the same year he wins the treble, he plays the World Cup final.

"We got to the Gala in 2010. The boys were not even on the top-three list. The only thing they managed to do was to be in the top XI, a player per position."

Mourinho departed San Siro for Real Madrid following Inter's Champions League triumph, which coincidentally was a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich at Los Blancos' Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

There were several players in the squad also winding down their Inter careers. Javier Zanetti, Marco Materazzi, Ivan Cordoba, Dejan Stankovic and Julio Cesar were all at least 30 by that point.

But Mourinho said every player in his ranks, regardless of their game time, pulled together for a common cause.

"There are different perspectives of players when they are coming to the end of their careers," the Portuguese added.

"There are the players that just want to be there for a couple more years on their contract – a few more million before they leave.

"And there are other guys with a different perspective which is: let me try to reach a high moment in my career, let me try and do something I never did. I think that was the point.

"The ones that were regular in the team, they were fantastic. But the ones that were not regular, the ones that didn't play as much, they were always there for the team, always there for the younger guys, always there for the coach, always there to help.

"It was really a fantastic achievement and one of the reasons why I was so happy. I felt that my joy and my emotions were not about me, it was about them.

"It wasn't about me winning my second Champions League – it was about them realising their dreams."

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