Internacional's Leandro Damiao set to stay in Brazil despite interest from AC Milan - agent

The representative wants to use the support of 9ine to keep his client in Porto Alegre, although the club vice-president admitted such a deal would stretch Inter's finances
The agent of Internacional star Leandro Damiao has affirmed that he is ready to follow in the footsteps of Brazil team-mate Neymar, by signing a new contract with the Porto Alegre side to assure his future.

The prolific striker has been linked with several high-profile European clubs during 2011, after a stunning year where he has netted 39 times and helped Inter lift the Porto Alegre State Championship and the Recopa Sudamericana.

AC Milan have been rumoured as a possible destination for the 22-year-old, as have clubs in Ukraine including Dnipro and Dinamo Kyiv.

Speaking on Thursday morning, a representative from Ronaldo's sports marketing company 9ine, who help manage Damiao's image rights, affirmed that the group's first priority was to keep their client with Inter on an improved deal and exploit his profile in Brazil.

"In 9ine's strategy, the best outcome is for Damiao to continue in Brazilian football, as our economy is strong and he could become the face of a large national brand for two or three years," agent Vinicius Prates told Zero Hora when asked about the youngster's future.

"Damiao's sale is not assured. It would be not be too daring to say he will stay in Inter, I have already been contacted by all the biggest clubs in Europe but, with the link to 9ine, the chances have grown. Neymar's situation, however, is difficult to compare with Damiao and Inter."

Unable to boast the same financial power as Santos, Inter would most likely have to sell players in order to finance a new deal. Club vice-president Luis Anapio Gomes admitted that it would stretch the institution, but that he would do everything in his power to make it happen.

"It is true that we cannot compare the economic situation at Santos with what we have here, but we will do everything we can to keep [Damiao]. But I still cannot guarantee he will stay," the director confided.

"We cannot sell some players in order to keep others. We will not have a mass sale, but if there is interest everyone is negotiable. It is undeniable that Damiao and Oscar are the two most important names we need to keep hold of."

Damiao and Inter will be back in action this weekend, when the club takes on Cruzeiro in Belo Horizonte.