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Milan giants in £17m Seedorf-Coco swap deal
Friday 31st May 2002

Italy wing-back Francesco Coco will leave AC Milan for Internazionale and Holland midfielder Clarence Seedorf is to travel in the opposite direction after the city rivals thrashed out a swap-deal worth an estimated £17 million.

Both players still need to agree terms with their new clubs, but that seems certain to happen. 

Milan managing-director Adriano Galliani announced the deal after talks with Inter president Massimo Moratti. 

"Everything is agreed between the clubs," confirmed Galliani. "Now we just have to agree terms with the players. We will be contacting Clarence Seedorf and I am sure that Inter will do the same with Coco." 

The deal hit a stumbling block when Inter demanded money as well as Coco for the sale of Seedorf, but the city rivals eventually agreed that the players were of equal value. 

Galliani was also quick to dismiss reports that Seedorf's arrival could spell the end for Portugal playmaker Rui Costa, who spent much of last season on the sidelines. "Rui Costa still figures in our plans," he insisted. 

Coco, who has spent the past season on loan with Barcelona, is currently in South Korea with Italy's World Cup squad and is unlikely to be allowed to discuss personal terms with Inter until after the World Cup. 

But after being told that his is no longer wanted by Barcelona, the athletic Italian explained on Friday that a move to Inter would suit him. 

"Inter are the only other club in Italy I could have joined. They have made it clear that they want to buy me and I would very much like to play for Moratti's team," he said. 

"I didn't want to return to AC Milan," he continued. "It wasn't Fatih Terim's fault, but things had gone badly between us.

"I guess it was everybody's fault, but it is all forgiven and forgotten.

"So this move is not me getting revenge. My revenge was going to Barca and getting inot the national team.

"I know Inter have been looking for a left-back, and that they still miss Roberto Carlos. But his ghost will not haunt me," Coco insisted.

Seedorf, meanwhile, has rediscovered the sort of form that made him one of Europe's most coveted midfielders at Inter this season. He admitted in March that his sudden resurgence had even surprised himself. 

"It's incredible what happened to me," he said. "Even Juve's Edgar Davids said to me after the game between us that he couldn't believe what he saw. I have to thank all my team-mates, who helped me during the past months which were really difficult."

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