Tuesday December 10 2019
Joao Mario: 'Don't want Inter return'

Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Joao Mario admits he’d “rather stay” at Lokomotiv Moscow than return to Inter next summer.

Joao Mario joined Lokomotiv on loan with an €18m option to buy in August, and he says he didn’t hesitate to make the move after realising his opportunities would be limited at San Siro.

“I accepted a move to Russia quite quickly,” he told Sport 24. “At that time, I was in Italy and I knew about Inter’s position.

“If it depended on me, I would still choose Lokomotiv, to be honest. I like the club, the city. So, yes, I’d rather stay here than go back to Inter.”

First-team football was particularly important, given Portugal will take part at Euro 2020 next summer.

Joao Mario admitted he was looking for a team that could give him an opportunity to play in the Champions League and said he had to move to make it into the Portugal squad for the European Championship Finals next summer.

“I was looking for a team that played in the Champions League and they were really interested in me.

“Those were the two main reasons for my move and the important criteria that had to be there. I realised that I had to play to get to Euro 2020.

“It made no sense to leave Inter for another team where I wouldn’t play, or somewhere it wasn’t clear what my role would be.

“You never know what will happen next. I hope that Lokomotiv will be able to get me, we will sit down and agree on everything.”

The Moscow side are currently fifth in the Russian Premier League and are preparing to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League tomorrow.

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