Liverpool told to forget hope of Zarate deal

Claudio Lotito, the Lazio president, said yesterday that Liverpool can abandon hope of buying the Argentine Mauro Zarate because the Serie A club will make the forward's loan from Qatar's Al-Sadd into a permanent move.

"Lazio will exercise their option to buy Zarate and they will not sell Zarate to Liverpool, full stop," Lotito said. "There is zero chance." Reports have said that Liverpool are interested in the former Birmingham City striker, who has scored 12 league goals for the Rome club this season.

Meanwhile, the Italy captain, Fabio Cannavaro, is unconcerned about the reaction of Juventus fans if his move back to the Serie A club goes through. The Real Madrid defender, whose contract at the Bernabeu runs out at the end of the season, is in talks about returning to Juve despite angering fans by leaving in 2006 when the team were demoted in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.

"Everyone knows I would return to Juve with joy in my heart because I had two beautiful seasons in Turin," the 35-year-old said yesterday. "People expected me to stay [in 2006] but I've already explained a thousand times what happened. I am not worried."