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Heartbreaker; EXCLUSIVE Jambo striker sparks storm over 'fling' with skipper's model wife.

Byline: By STEVE SMITH

HEARTS star Mauricio Pinilla has sparked a storm in his Chilean homeland after being caught in a hotel with the model wife of his international skipper.

Maria Jose Lopez confessed on TV that she had been with Pinilla but her heart was still with husband Luis Jimenez.

The affair has rocked Chile, where fans regard 22-year-olds Lopez and Jimenez as their Posh and Becks.

It has also ripped apart Chile's preparations for the forthcoming Copa America tournament - with the warring players both regulars in the side.

Lopez said: "There was a moment during a complicated period in my relationship with Luis and now I am very unhappy.

"My love is Luis and Mauricio was only an adventure. Pinilla is not special to me."

She even appeared on national TV this week to admit she was with Pinilla at a hotel but denied romping with him. She said: "I went to a hotel in March, because Mauricio just called me, called me, called me."

Lopez claims Lazio forward Jimenez told her to go and she went with a friend.

She added: "I got there, waited around and came back."

But Lopez, who is known as Cote throughout Chile, revealed she went back to the hotel again with Pinilla, 23.

The model said: "This time he said he was going to show me something.

"I have nothing to hide. But I wouldn't go on my own - if someone saw me there alone they may suspect I came for something. I went with my brother. The press appeared because some friends of his called the press.

"He had nothing to show me but I couldn't go out because what would people say about me? That I had slept with him. But Luis knew so I don't care."

A friend in Santiago said: "This is dynamite in Chile.

"It looks like Pinilla has been caught out and there are calls for him to be kicked off the national side.

"It is still not clear if Jimenez will play for Chile again - the word is he is quitting the training camp."

Pinilla is already at the centre of a bizarre blackmail plot. He was told to pay up or a video of him singing karaoke nude would be made public.

He joined Hearts from Inter Milan on a 12-month loan last year but made just six appearances because of injury.

Hearts sent him to Chile to spend three months with former club Universidad de Chile but he was sacked for allegedly fighting in a disco.

'My love is Luis and Mauricio was only an adventure'

Model Cote Lopez

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Red hot in Chile: Gorgeous Lopez was caught at hotel with Jambos star; Scorer: Pinilla is at the centre of the scandal; Captain: Jimenez is seen as the Beckham of Chile
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 17, 2007
Words:476
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