Football: Baggio set to join Ronaldo at Inter

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The Independent Online
ITALIAN striker Roberto Baggio will almost definitely join Internazionale for the next Serie A season, a club spokesman said yesterday.

The 31-year-old striker has yet to sign a contract, and the deal is not yet official but it could come as early as today, said the spokesman. Baggio earned a place on Italy's World Cup squad with a late surge for Bologna. He finished the season with 22 goals, fourth-best in the league.

At Inter, he would be paired with the Brazilian Ronaldo, who joined the club last summer and helped them win the Uefa Cup and finish second in the league. Baggio is likely to sign a contract for two or three years with Inter, the spokesman said.

The Argentinian striker Gabriel Batistuta appeared assured of a place in his country's World Cup team, despite a history of differences with head coach Daniel Passarella.

As Passarella confirmed the shirt numbers assigned to each player, the apparent starting team included two surprises: Carlos Roa in the goal instead of German Burgos, and left back Hector Pineda instead of Javier Zanetti.

Batistuta, the Fiorentina striker, was given the No 9 shirt. Ariel Ortega, the skillful Valencia midfielder, received the No 10 shirt which Diego Maradona wore in the last four World Cups.

The South Korean striker Hwang Sun-hong could miss the World Cup after injuring his knee in yesterday's 1-1 draw against China. The experienced 29-year-old Pohang Steelers forward was stretchered off the pitch and taken to hospital after being hurt in a tackle 14 minutes into the warm- up game.

"Hwang has problems with his knee," South Korea coach Cha Bum-Kun said. "He is a very important player to me but we must wait and see what his condition is.

"We had trouble in attack in his absence today." Bum-Kun added. "The Chinese were playing rough, and our players stood back a bit to avoid injuries."

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