Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti ended weeks of speculation on Monday by stating that Brazilian full-back Maicon will not be following former coach Jose Mourinho to Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old had been coveted by the Spanish giants all summer but the two sides had failed to come to an agreement on the player's value. And having earlier in the day suggested he didn't know what was going on, Moratti was more decisive in the afternoon.
"Maicon is staying at Inter," he told reporters. "He was wanted by other clubs, as were other players. They consider him good, so good that, perhaps, I was convinced to not sell him. I've taken Maicon off the market."
But it seems that Maicon's commitment to the club jersey, with which he and Inter won the treble last season, played a significant role in keeping him in Milan. Maicon has been excellent in pre-season and has shown no signs of desiring a move.
"The most important role was the Brazilian full-back's behaviour during these weeks," added Moratti. "Also for his character, the behaviour he's shown during this period, all these things were fundamental."
New Inter coach Rafael Benitez was keen to keep the former Monaco player on his books.
"Maicon is without a doubt a good player who made a difference in many matches last season," said Benitez. "He's an important player for us, we know Real Madrid are interested in him but, I repeat, he's important for us. He's here and right now we think that he wants to win, as the whole team does, together."
Inter's evergreen club captain Javier Zanetti, also pleaded with his South American team-mate to stay with the club. "We hope Maicon will stay with us, he's the best full-back we have and also in the world. If he stays it will be very important for us," he said.