Inter Milan midfielder Thiago Motta has called on teammates Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maicon to stay at the club to give it the best possible chance of Champions League success. Motta and Argentine striker Diego Milito joined from Genoa before last season finished. Inter coach Jose Mourinho declared then that they were the type of players to show the team's determination to improve on its quarterfinal exit in Europe last season. However, Ibrahimovic has since been touted as a potential replacement for Samuel Eto'o at Barcelona, while Maicon is wanted by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
"Ibrahimovic is one of the three best players in the world and Maicon is No. 1 in his role," Motta said in Tuesday's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport. "They have to stay, but only if they are happy to stay. You can't play without a smile."
The 26-year-old Brazilian is one of the few Inter players who knows what it takes to win the Champions League. He was a squad member when Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 final. "I want to go back and win the Champions League. It is why I'm at Inter and why I left Genoa. I was happy at Genoa, but I have an objective and I have to try and achieve it," Motta said. "We're ready to try. Barcelona is a step ahead of everyone. I know the Catalans, I grew up with a lot of them. They've shown that the way to win is by playing football."