- Premier League
Cavani wants to play with Balotelli... at Napoli, not City
Edinson Cavani has pledged his future to Napoli and talked up the possibility of playing alongside Mario Balotelli at the Stadio San Paolo.
Cavani, 25, has moved to end speculation about his future by publicly expressing his desire to stay in Naples "for a long time". Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis last week revealed he had turned down a large bid for Cavani, 25, but disclosed the fact that his latest contract contains a release fee of €63 million.
That led to much talk about a possible exit, including a reported bid from Russian club Zenit St Petersburg for that exact amount, while Cavani's father appeared on Marca TV on Thursday night claiming that a move to Real Madrid would be "the ideal for my son".
However, the Uruguay star has quashed all talk of a possible departure, telling TG1: "I hope to stay here for a long time. I am enjoying this moment and everything that surrounds football in this city, such as the fans, who give us an extra boost.
"Naples has given me so much and that is why I am so happy here. The warmth and affection of the fans have given me extra confidence. I have a great deal of love for them and for this city. My children are Neapolitan, as they are indelibly linked to this city, because they give me everything and I try to give something in return."
With Cavani set to stay at Napoli, he spoke of his desire to play alongside Manchester City striker Balotelli, who has been linked with a move back to Italy, with AC Milan, Inter Milan, and the Partenopei among the suggested suitors.
"Nobody has the right to negatively judge a player like Balotelli as people can make mistakes,"he said. "I would certainly love to play alongside him. He is a champion and has proved that. He's an Italian champion who will make people very happy."
Cavani also praised the support he receives from the rest of the Napoli squad and coach Walter Mazzarri. "Some players like to go out partying but I like the quiet life," Cavani said. "My team-mates are my family, I spend so much time with them and am very close to the players and those who work for Napoli. I focus on winning and on getting important results with Napoli.
"Walter Mazzarri is right when he says much of my success comes from the team. A striker scores goals, but the goalkeepers saves them, the defenders close chances down and all the credit is shared out. A lot of the credit also goes to the coach, who prepares us for the games brilliantly."