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Football | Italy

Wesley Sneijder © Reuters Images

Sneijder has 'not been bullied'



Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni has hit back at critics who have accused the club of bullying Dutch international playmaker Wesley Sneijder over a contract dispute.

The midfielder has been left out of the side recently and was again absent for Sunday's 1-0 win over Palermo in Serie A, with media reports saying he had been told to accept a pay cut or face being sold.

Stramaccioni, who has won plaudits for reviving third-placed Inter after poor spells under predecessors Rafael Benitez and Claudio Ranieri, said it was stupid to talk of bullying a player who earns as much as Sneijder.

"We should be careful about using the word 'bullying' when an ordinary worker earning 1 000 euros ($1 300) a month might hear it. That's my opinion," the Inter coach told reporters.

"As regards Sneijder I don't think there has been any type of violence, abuse or discrimination."

According to media reports, the Dutchman earns around six million euros a year.

Stramaccioni denied he had been forced by the club to drop Sneijder, saying he alone made the decisions regarding team selection.

"I have the right to choose who I want to play and at the moment I see better players for me to pick," the coach said.

"I'm the Inter coach and I'm in complete harmony with my president (Massimo Moratti). I will make my decisions but let's not talk about bullying please."

Inter's victory on Sunday, achieved with a 74th-minute own goal from Santiago Garcia, lifted them within four points of leaders Juventus.

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