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Inter set to keep Maicon, cool on Mascherano

MILAN (Reuters) -- Inter Milan have halted talks with Real Madrid about selling Maicon and the chances of Liverpool's Javier Mascherano joining the European champions look remote, club president Massimo Moratti said on Monday.

New Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who guided Inter to an unprecedented Italian treble last term, was keen to take Brazil right back Maicon with him to the Bernabeu but a deal has not been reached despite weeks of discussions.

"Personally I consider him such a good player that maybe I've decided not to sell him," Moratti told the usual scrum of reporters outside his offices.

"I have pulled the player out of any transfer talks."

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Negotiations are still ongoing regarding Manchester City target Mario Balotelli, who is set to make his Italy debut in Tuesday's friendly with Ivory Coast in London.

"There have been no big steps forward, we will see," Moratti added about a deal to sell his rebellious teenage striker.

If Inter do not sell during a quiet transfer window generally in Europe then moves for Argentina captain Mascherano and Genoa midfielder Giuseppe Sculli will not go ahead, especially with Liverpool wanting big money for the former.

"At these prices it's not possible at this moment, especially having not sold anyone," the president said ahead of Inter's first Serie A game at Bologna on Aug. 30.