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Brazil defender Lucio heads for Inter Milan

BRAZIL defender Lucio is leaving Bayern Munich for Italian champion Inter Milan, where he is expected to sign a three-year contract, the German club said yesterday.

Bayern agreed to release Lucio from his contract, which had another year to run, ending weeks of speculation over the 31-year-old's future.

Bayern manager Uli Hoeness said Bayern agreed "through gritted teeth" to accept Lucio's wish to leave. Lucio will sign a three-year deal with Inter, subject to a medical, he said.

The German club said both sides agreed not to disclose the transfer fee for Lucio, the 2002 World Cup winner who captained the Brazil team that won the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Hoeness said that Inter Milan wanted to offer players in exchange "but we rejected that. We wanted cash. Now we have cash - so we agreed."

Inter did not immediately confirm the transfer.

Club president Massimo Moratti said on Inter's Web site that "it is not official yet." He did not elaborate.

Lucio said during the Confederations Cup that he wanted to play a few more years in Europe but was unsure whether he would remain with Bayern Munich following reported criticism from new coach Louis Van Gaal.

Club president Franz Beckenbauer said that was based on "misunderstandings" and argued that Bayern should keep Lucio, but speculation persisted.

Lucio joined Bayern in 2004 from German rival Bayer Leverkusen. He has played 144 Bundesliga games for the club, winning three league and German Cup doubles.

Bayern has made several major signings for the new season, including Croatia forward Ivica Olic and Germany striker Mario Gomez.

Alongside the Lucio saga, Bayern also has spent recent weeks fending off interest in France winger Franck Ribery from Real Madrid.

Hoeness said an internal club deadline for any Ribery transfer expired on Wednesday.

"It has been clearly determined that Franck is staying with us," Hoeness said.


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