Villarreal's Borja Valero hits out at Manchester City bribe claims made by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis: We are professionals with pride

The Spanish side can lend the Citizens a helping hand with a victory over the Italians, but the 26-year-old midfielder says his team are only interested in winning for themselves
By Francisco Delgado & Ben Hayward

Villarreal midfielder Borja Valero has dismissed rumours claiming Manchester City have offered his side money to beat Napoli in the Champions League Group A clash on Wednesday night.

Villarreal have lost all five of their group fixtures so far in the competition, but their match against the Italians has a huge bearing on who will qualify for the last 16 from the section as City need to beat Bayern Munich and hope the Yellow Submarine can avoid defeat at home to Napoli.

"We don't like the rumours from Italy about a possible offer from Manchester City for us to win against Napoli on Wednesday," Borja told in an exclusive interview.

"Firstly because it's not true and secondly, because we are professionals with pride.

"Villarreal have a good image in Europe and to end the group stage with no points, or with one point, would be very painful - and that's why it's important for us to give ourselves a boost and win this match."

Borja's comments come following a suggestion made by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis that the English club's wealthy Arab owners could be offering cash as an incentive to Villarreal's players.

De Laurentiis said: “I can feel strange things going on surrounding the Villarreal game – princes and sheikhs are getting agitated. To think about it would be evil. But sometimes you can guess what might be happening.”

But Borja, who will not be able to play at the Etihad Stadium due to a gastrointestinal problem, insisted that he does not care which team advances to the last 16 alongside group winners Bayern.

"This war of nerves between City and Napoli has nothing to do with us," he explained.

"I don't care who goes through - I just want us to say goodbye to the Champions League with a win at home.

"The Italians and the English should have made sure they qualified earlier - we don't want to be involved in any of this."

Valero also claims his side could do with the financial boost of a win on matchday six and hopes success against the Italians can kick-start the club's ailing season, which sees them just two points clear of the relegation zone in La Liga after 14 games.

"Apart from the moral question, there are the economic prizes from Uefa for winning and these days, Villarreal need the money like everyone else," he admitted.

"We are going through a bad patch in the Spanish league and injuries have been destroying us since the summer, but we are getting some of our players back little by little and I hope a victory over Napoli can see us start to win games and climb up the table."

Meanwhile, the former Real Madrid youth product says he is happy at Villarreal, despite reported interest from the Premier League.

"I'm not concerned by the reports in newspapers or whether I am being followed or not in the Premier League," he said.

"I'm just focused on Villarreal at the moment."

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