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Figo's Saudi move blocked by Inter

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ROME, Italy -- Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini has insisted that Portuguese midfield star Luis Figo will not be joining Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad.

Al Ittihad's official Web site claimed last week that 34-year-old Figo had signed on a one-year contract worth $5.9 million (4.5 million euros) and would be arriving on January 5.

But Mancini, speaking at a press conference in Bahrain where the team are on a short visit before Serie A resumes after its winter break, said Figo was staying put.

"Figo is an Inter player and he will stay at Inter," Mancini was quoted as saying by Inter's official Web site when asked whether reports of the player's imminent departure were true.

Figo, whose contract with Inter runs out at the end of the current season, has played little under Mancini this season and could be tempted by the lure of another lucrative deal before retiring.

A former European and World Footballer of the Year, Figo retired from international football after Portugal lost to France in the World Cup semifinals in July, but said he wanted to continue at club level for a season or two.

Figo previously played with Sporting Lisbon (1989-1995), Barcelona (1995-2000) and Real Madrid (2000-2005) before joining Inter.

Inter, the current Serie A leaders, face the Bahrain national team on Saturday.

Figo's planned move to Saudi Arabia has been blocked by Inter Milan's coach.



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