Football: Unsettled, but Perisic and Sanches play star roles

Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic (right) and Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha in a tussle for the ball during the ICC friendly at the National Stadium yesterday. Chelsea will play Inter tomorrow evening in the final match.
Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic (right) and Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha in a tussle for the ball during the ICC friendly at the National Stadium yesterday. Chelsea will play Inter tomorrow evening in the final match.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Two names hot on the transfer rumour mill were on display last night at the National Stadium, where Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic and Bayern Munich's Renato Sanches played key roles for their respective teams in their International Champions Cup (ICC) Singapore clash.

Perisic, 28, was a constant menace on the left wing, where Bayern right-back Rafinha had trouble containing him. The Croatian provided the assist for Inter's second goal of the night, delivering an inch-perfect cross for Eder Martins to head home past Sven Ulreich.

The 28-year-old has been linked with a big-money move to English giants Manchester United, with a transfer seemingly close. However, Inter coach Luciano Spalletti dismissed the speculation at his post-match press conference, saying: "I have known Perisic for a long time and he is a world-class player.

"Whether he plays well or not, it's not going to change my mind. We want to keep him, but there are a lot of considerations to be made and I cannot say for sure whether he is going to stay or not."

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Sanches' Bayern future is also up in the air, with reports saying he is unhappy at the Allianz Arena, with Inter arch-rivals AC Milan and United reportedly interested.

The 19-year-old Portuguese came on as a second-half substitute for Bayern, and gave the German side energy in the centre of the park. His direct runs drove Bayern forward as they sought to level the match, and he also had a couple of long-range cracks at Inter's goal.

Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti was quick to praise the reigning European Golden Boy - an award given to the continent's top Under-21 player - stating that the Euro 2016 winner played better than normal.

He said: "Renato played really well. I don't know if he is surprised or not, he played really differently from last season, he has a different intensity at this moment.

"I'm really happy for him. He has this quality also last year, but he didn't show it for some reason.

"But now he is showing this, and he is an important player for us and after that, we'll see what happens."

Both players refused to talk to the media after the match, but agreed to requests for selfies. Ian Kiew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2017, with the headline 'Unsettled but Perisic and Sanches play star roles'. Print Edition | Subscribe