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FOOTBALL

Bayern Munich loans Shaqiri to Inter Milan

Inter Milan have signed Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri on a six-month loan deal from Bayern Munich, with the option to buy, the Serie A club announced on Thursday.

Bayern Munich loans Shaqiri to Inter Milan
Shaqiri celebrates a goal during World Cup match against Honduras last year. Photo: AFP

Inter have reportedly agreed to pay €2 million euros ($2.3 million) for the 23-year-old winger with an option to buy him outright for €14 million ($16.5 million) in June.

"Complete agreement between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich on the arrival of @xs_11official (Xherdan Shaqiri) at the +nerazzurro+, all that is missing is the signature," the former European champions tweeted.

Shaqiri, who came up through the ranks at Basel, scored three goals for Switzerland at last summer's World Cup but has found it increasingly difficult to break into Pep Guardiola's Bayern side against the competition of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben.
   
He becomes the second mid-season recruit for Inter after the recent arrival of German striker Lukas Poldoski from Arsenal.

In other developments, Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg said it extended the contract with Swiss international defender Ricardo Rodriguez until 2019.

Rodriguez, 22, joined the club in 2012 on a deal running until 2016.
   
"It was an important step. We've seen 'Richi' evolve so we're delighted to be able to keep him," the club's sporting director Klaus Allofs said without giving financial details of the deal.
   
Rodriguez had attracted the interest of top European clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea, with the German press r eporting his new deal includes a release clause estimated at between €20 million and €30 million ($23 million-$35 million).

This season he has played 16 matches for Wolfsburg, scoring six goals.

"For me Richi is one of the best players in his position. That he's staying is an important sign for the development of Wolfsburg," added coach Dieter Hecking.
   
Wolfsburg are currently second in the Bundesliga 11 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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