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Inter sign Hernanes from Lazio

nter Milan completed the signing of midfielder Hernanes from Lazio on the cusp of the transfer deadline, a day after the Brazilian’s emotional exit from the Rome-based Italian Serie A club.

The 28-year-old Hernanes has joined i Nerazzurri on a four-and-a-half-year deal, the club announced on its website www.inter.it.

“FC Internazionale would like to welcome Hernanes to the club. The club has filed documents relating to his permanent transfer from Lazio to Serie A officials,” said the statement. “The player has singed a contract until June 30, 2018.”

No financial details were immediately revealed although Italian media reports said the fee was in the region of €18m. Hernanes becomes Inter’s first major signing under new Inter owner Erick Thohir, the Indonesian businessman who took over the club in November last year.

However Hernanes’ exit from Lazio, where he was hugely popular with i Biancocelesti fans, was not without emotion. Hernanes was pictured on television on Thursday in emotional exchanges with fans who had waited for him to leave the club’s training ground.

Sitting at the wheel of his car, Hernanes broke down in tears before turning to the passenger seat, taking his boots and handing them to a waiting supporter. On Friday around 200 fans were camped outside the residence of Lazio president Claudio Lotito hoping to convince the club chief not to sell the Brazilian international.

However after a full day of talks in Milan, club officials thrashed out a deal that will see Hernanes remain with Walter Mazzarri’s side until the end of the 2018 season. Hernanes explained on his facebook page on Thursday:

“I cried, not because anyone is forcing me to leave the club, but because I’m leaving a club, a city and a people I love.”

Hernanes virtually confirmed his departure from Lazio earlier in the day when he added:

“The decision is purely mine. I’m leaving because of purely football reasons. I told the president I want to leave because I believe it will help my career as a professional footballer.”

Inter currently sit fifth in Serie A, albeit 11 points behind third-placed Napoli who occupy the third and final Champions League qualifying spot. Lazio sit in tenth, five points behind Inter in the last available league spot offering qualification for the Europa League.