Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo will not feature in his team’s match against Serie A leaders Napoli after a bitter transfer spat saw him reject a move to Bournemouth, coach Jose Mourinho said on Saturday. Italy international Zaniolo declined to be selected for last weekend’s win at Spezia, but this time it’s Mourinho and the club who have dumped the 23-year-old as Roma attempts rivals Napoli’s rise to a first league title in more than three decades to slow down.
Widespread reports in Italy say Roma are furious with Zaniolo for refusing a 30 million euros ($32.6 million) move to Bournemouth after talks between the capital club and AC Milan broke down in the week, even with representatives from the Premier League club. who traveled to Italy to make a deal.
Mourinho had said after the Spezia win that he believed Zaniolo would still be in the Champions League hunt for Roma after the winter transfer window closed.
“Unfortunately, it seems I was right,” he said on Saturday.
“I say unfortunately because the player has been saying for a month that he wants to leave,” Mourinho told reporters.
“If a player says to the coach, club and teammates: ‘I don’t want to play for Roma, I don’t want to wear Roma’s shirt, I don’t want to train with my teammates… happy players who make other players happy.
“He’s not available, he’s not part of the project.”
Zaniolo was already regarded as one of Italy’s brightest young talents when he burst onto the scene with Roma as a teenager, but his early career was severely damaged by serious injuries to both knees.
Last season he fought back and under Mourinho was key to Roma’s Conference League victory. He scored the winning goal in the final against Feyenoord to secure their first ever major European trophy.
But now he wants to go after a poor campaign at the Eternal City in which he was overshadowed by Paulo Dybala as the clear star of Mourinho’s team.
Neither the club nor the player have any intention of renewing a contract that expires in June next year, potentially leaving Zaniolo out for months before a deal can be made to leave in the summer.
(This story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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