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Leverkusen 14:30 Hoffenheim

Ze Roberto claims Bayern move

By Simon Fudge.   Last Updated: 10/04/02 3:36pm

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BAYER LEVERKUSEN midfielder Ze Roberto has claimed that he will be moving to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich next season, though the Bay Arena side insist that no deal has been struck and that they intend to keep the Brazilian international.

Ze Roberto, who was influential in Bayer's Champions League quarter-final success over Liverpool on Tuesday, told 'Sport Bild' that he will follow team-mate Michael Ballack to the Bavarian club next season.

Ze Roberto said: "I've reached an agreement with Munich and will follow the likes of Jorginho, Sergio, Robert Kovac and Michael Ballack to Bavaria.

"After all, there have been lots of players from Leverkusen that end up with Bayern."

No official deal has been struck for the attacking winger but the 27-year-old's advisors have been reported to be in Madrid, where Bayern play Real in their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday, to discuss the possibility of a move.

A number of top European sides are interested in the Brazilian but if his comments turn out to be true, he could be heading for the current Bundesliga and European Cup holders next season.

However, Bayer Leverkusen general manager Reiner Calmund has refused to give up on Ze Roberto, claiming that he has not jumped to their domestic rivals, despite already losing rising-star Ballack to Ottmar Hitzfeld's side.

Calmund stated that no decision will be made until the end of the month for the winger, who could fetch Bayer a sizable transfer fee should he leave.

He said: "The facts are that we have four offers - two from Italy, one from Spain and one from the Bayern.

"We will do everything to keep Ze Roberto and extend his contract. The contract talks are still in our hands."

The Brazilian's contract is up at the end of next season but chances are he may not see out his current deal with the Champions League semi-finalists.


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