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Zhang Jindong said on Tuesday that Inter’s return to Champions League football was just the “first step” in their plan to return the Italian team to past glory.

“First of all, I want to congratulate you all for this great achievement!” Zhang wrote in an open letter to Inter that was published on the club’s website.

“After six seasons, Inter has finally returned to the Champions League, the most prestigious competition in European football!

“We have waited a long time for this day to come and this result is the fruit of your constant work. Congratulations!”

We have the first tangible sign of what qualifying for the Champions League next season means financially to Inter as Marco Tronchetti Provera, the chief executive of Pirelli has revealed that Inter’s Champions League qualification will mean the tire manufacturer’s sponsorship will be upgraded.

“Sponsorship has more value in a European context. For someone who is a passionate Interista it brings me great satisfaction and it is so good to see all those who have committed themselves achieve this goal. The contract is linked to the results so there will be a further upgrade.”

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter are reportedly offer Mauro Icardi a contract extension until 2022, worth €6m per season plus bonuses. As part of the deal, Icardi’s release clause would be raised from €110m to €200m.

The Nerazzurri captain just bought a new home in Milan, so you would think that this would be an easy pay raise. But his wife and agent Mauro Icardi’s wife is determined to get the best deal she can for her client/husband and says that “there are some big clubs ready to pay the release clause” for the striker at €110m, but “his priority is Inter.”

Mauro Icardi has been left out of Argentina’s squad for the World Cup, but Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain are in.

Icardi’s 29 goals for Inter this season were enough for him to be named Serie A’s Capocannoniere, but not to displace Higuain and Dybala in Argentina’s attack.

Interestingly, this is the first Albiceleste squad since 1994 that will go to a World Cup without a Nerazzurri player.

After the squad announcement, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli suggested that Icardi was not compatible enough with Argentina’s World Cup squad.

Steven Zhang, the son of Inter owner Jindong Zhang, says Luciano Spalletti staying is “not even a question” and “it’s the same” for Mauro Icardi.

The Nerazzurri dramatically secured Champions League qualification on the final day of the Serie A season, winning 3-2 at Lazio to finish above the Biancocelesti thanks to their head-to-head record.

“First of all, I thank the fans, the players and the coaching staff, who gave everything they could,” Zhang Jr told Corriere dello Sport.

“Even if we suffered and there were highs and lows, in the end we got the result we wanted. We all gave our all until the end to reach the finish line, as is the spirit of Inter.

Inter President Erick Thohir says ‘now we want the Champions League semi-finals’ after singling out the club’s ‘220m fans in China’.

Inter ended a seven-year absence from the Champions League on Sunday as they pulled off a dramatic 3-2 victory over Lazio, and Thohir wasted no time in setting the bar high.

“The objective was to return to the Champions League within five years and we’ve succeeded in doing so,” he told republika.co.id.

“Now we want the semi-finals and to reach it, we’ll stick with Luciano Spalletti. We’ll try to satisfy his needs and keep the players that are necessary for him.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter are set to reward Luciano Spalletti for qualifying for the Champions League with a new contract.

Spalletti is seen as the man who helped guide Inter back to the promised land with a season that was well above expectations.

He and his people will meet with Inter’s directors this week, but it appears that the two sides have already reached an agreement in principle.

The former Roma, Sampdoria and Udinese Coach originally had a deal that would keep him in Milan until June 2019, but he is now expected to stick around for far longer.

Nerazzurri Sporting Director Piero Ausilio was recently interviewed on “Radio Anch’io Sport” on Rai Radio 1, discussing Inter’s massive victory over Lazio on the final day of the 2017-18 Serie A season:

“Qualifying for the Champions League obviously brings with it enthusiasm and economic advantages,” he said. “However, we must give continuity to our project. This year was positive, as was the work of Spalletti and the players. We’ll try to build an even stronger Inter side based on these foundations – with more strength.

He also discussed a number of individuals:

Javier Zanetti is delighted about Inter’s return to the Champions League.

The director and club legend had this to write on Twitter after the Nerazzurri earned a spectacular 3-2 win over Lazio to earn qualification to the elite competition.

“Thanks Lads, thanks to the Coach, to all the staff, the club and these extraordinary fans: these are very Inter emotions! We’re back to where we belong!”

The Nerazzurri needed to defeat Lazio in order to earn qualification, despite having an inferior goal difference.

Massimo Moratti has hailed the Inter squad for ‘reviving the spirit’ of the club after their return to the Champions League.

Inter ended a seven-year absence from the Champions League on Sunday as they pulled off a dramatic 3-2 victory over Lazio, prompting Moratti to shower praise on Coach Luciano Spalletti and his players.

“It was a great victory, which gave great satisfaction at the end,” their former owner told Saras.

“It was also a good match in terms of emotions. It repaid our suffering throughout the season.