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Inter rocked by Forlan's refusal to play


Claudio Ranieri, the Internazionale coach, last night denied that striker Diego Forlan refused to come off the bench during yesterday's 0-0 draw with Atalanta, which severely hit their outside hopes of bagging third and a Champions League qualifying spot.

Forlan, joint top scorer at the World Cup in 2010 who joined Inter from Atletico Madrid in August, was seen to be involved in an exchange with Ranieri and never entered the field. "He did not refuse to come on, I was talking to him about tactics," said Ranieri, who later admitted the Uruguayan had not wanted to come on as a winger.

In Spain last night Real Madrid's lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga was pegged back to eight points after Santi Cazorla's late free-kick earned Malaga a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.