Inter’s shot stopper to miss Napoli clash

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Inter Milan suffered a new injury blow on Tuesday with the news that goalkeeper Julio Cesar will miss Thursday’s clash against Napoli with a hamstring strain.

Cesar has not played a Serie A match for Inter since the end of October when he limped out of the 1-0 win at Genoa with another hamstring problem.

He returned to the team in mid December to play in their two Club World Cup matches in Abu Dhabi but now looks set for another spell on the sidelines.

It’s a blow new Inter coach Leonardo can ill afford as he is already likely to be without Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder and Brazilian youngster Coutinho, who are both recovering from injuries.

Top scorer Samuel Eto’o is also out with a suspension as he serves the last of a three-match ban for a headbutt during a match against Chievo in November.

Inter have not played a league game for more than a month due to their participation at the Club World Cup and the two-and-a-half week Italian winter break.

They have slipped to seventh in the league and are 13 points behind leaders and city rivals AC Milan — although the nerazzurri do have two games in hand.

That form, however, saw Spaniard Rafael Benitez given the push and former Milan boss Leonardo thrust into the hot seat.

One boost for Leonardo has been the signing of 23-year-old centre-back Andrea Ranocchia from Genoa, six months earlier than had been planned in his original agreement.

Ranocchia had essentially been on loan at Genoa from Inter in a co-ownership agreement but has now signed until 2015 with the reigning Serie A champions.

“Everyone’s dream is to play for a big club that has won everything,” Ranocchia told the Inter website.

“That was the dream I had from the moment I started playing. This is a new beginning for me and I have to learn from these great players.”

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