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Mourinho on Zaniolo: “He’s been asking to leave for a month”

The Portuguese coach made his position clear on the Italian, who rejected Bournemouth’s offer.

Zaniolo y Mourinho.

Roma take on Napoli in Naples on Sunday in a match that is crucial in the Serie A title race. With a win, the Azzurri would strengthen their lead against a team that have started the year very well. José Mourinho knows this, and so in his press conference, he decided to put pressure on his friend Luciano Spalletti. “They have already won the scudetto with all due respect, congratulations. They are a great team with a great coach, they are 12 points ahead and there are no clubs that can scare them. The title is already theirs”.

The Portuguese thanked the journalists for congratulating him on his birthday the day before yesterday. He said: “My present to you is the eleven: Rui, Zalewski and Spinazzola on the wings, the usual back three, Cristante and Matic with Pellegrini, and Paulo and Abraham up front”.

Zaniolo situation

Mourinho also spoke about the transfer window and the situation with Roma player Nicolo Zaniolo. The Italian rejected an offer from Bournemouth, who were willing to pay €30m, and his coach explained why he will leave him out of the team again. “It has been a month since the player said that he wants to leave. After Spezia, I gave them a day off and an optional training session. All those who didn’t play came to work and these are the ones we want. If a player tells everyone that he doesn’t want to wear the Roma shirt, I have to say that he stays in spite of me. What I can say today is that Zaniolo will not be in Naples and I focus on those who will be.

It will be the third consecutive game in which Zaniolo will be missing from the squad, and his situation is getting more difficult by the day. The only proposal that convinced him, the one from Milan, was too far from Roma’s expectations - around €10 million less than what Bournemouth were offering. Unless there are huge surprises in the last days of the transfer window, Zaniolo will have to stay in the face of huge criticism from his supporters.