Balotelli: I’d play in goal to win Milan UCL

AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid

 

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli says he would "play in objective" if it meant winning the Champions League as he prepares for his facet’s final-sixteen conflict with Atletico Madrid.

 

Balotelli has by no means scored in the Champions League knockout stage and is decided to rectify that when the Rossoneri tackle the Rojiblancos within the first leg at the San Siro on Wednesday.

The Italy striker claimed to have by no means tasted victory in opposition to a Spanish side – although he actually scored in Manchester City Champions League win in opposition to Villarreal in 2011 and performed in Inter Milan’s semifinal first leg victory over Barcelona in 2010 – as he mentioned his European hopes ahead of the game.

Mario Balotelli

GettyImagesMario Balotelli is desperate to get his arms on the Champions League trophy with AC Milan.

"Spanish sides are always tough to beat and I've never beaten them, so it wold be nice to begin by beating Atletico," Balotelli said at a information conference. "Perhaps I've not scored in the knockout levels but, however I've not had much of a chance actually, have I?

"I'm a centre ahead, but when to win the Champions League I've received to play in aim, then I will play in aim."

Milan coach Clarence Seedorf is trying to find a components to beat the joint-Primera Division leaders in his first Champions League sport, with the Dutchman saying: "They've always been a effectively-organised facet who know what they want and have been at this stage for two years now, so we've great respect for them.

“We're up against a side who are forward of us in every side, however the Champions League is something else. I've seen a number of Champions League video games featuring sides who are having difficulties [domestically], yet they get good results so we do have a bit of faith, though we all know we have to play a terrific recreation.

"Obviously this sport has a distinct significance to different our different games. We've been constructing up to this one. It's extremely special as it's an important membership event in the world. It has one of the best gamers on the field with one of the best golf equipment collaborating. These are the evenings that youngsters dream of being concerned in, either as a participant or a fan.

"We're delighted to be competing for Milan and for Italy, and we want to remain heading in the right direction for the Champions League this season."

Seedorf, who is the one participant to have won the Champions League with three different clubs, admitted Kaka’s participation remained doubtful after the Brazilian was once more unable to train on Tuesday.

"We're evaluating him and hope he will be fit," added Seedorf, who could as a substitute flip to Giampaolo Pazzini to play alongside Balotelli in a partnership which appears to guarantee targets.

"Every time I play with him, both he or I score, and that is a fact," Balotelli said of Pazzini. "But it's as much as the coach [who performs]. Clarence is more or less nonetheless a player anyway. He is still a part of the squad. I wouldn’t call him a father as that may offend him, but he is extra of a brother."

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Balotelli hits out at press

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Balotelli banned for Torino clash

Mario Balotelli will miss AC Milan's clash with Torino next weekend after picking up his 13th yellow card of the season during his side's 2-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday.

Balotelli, 23, was booked for making an obscene gesture to home fans at the Stadio Sant’Elia after equalising for the Rossoneriin a game they went on to win – making it two Serie A victories out of two for new coach Clarence Seedorf.

However, the Dutchman is not going to be able to rely on the Italy international, who has scored in all three of Seedorf’s games in charge so far, when Milan face high-flying Torino on Saturday. Only Sassuolo's Thomas Manfredini and Sampdoria's Nenad Krsticic have worse disciplinary records than Balotelli so far this season.

The loss will be a blow for Milan who face a tricky test against a Torino side who are currently four points above them in the standings, and are starting to consider their own chances of playing in Europe next season.

"[Qualifying for Europe] gives us an added stimulus, but our first aim is to avoid relegation. Once we've done that, then we can see whether or not we can dream of something else, " Torino forward Alessio Cerci told Sky Sport Italia.

Avoiding the drop also remains coach Giampiero Ventura's priority, but he may be open to reassessing his aims in the event of a win at the San Siro.

 

"We'll see against Milan whether we are capable of coping while in the spotlight, " he is quoted as saying by Calcio News 24. "Then we could enter into a new dimension. "

 

With fifth-placed Inter Milan stumbling again at the weekend and facing a trip to Juventus in their next game on Sunday night, Torino would break into the top five with a win, while Milan would reduce the arrears on their city rivals to just two points – reviving their own hopes of qualifying for the Europa League next season – with a victory.

 

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Pepe Reina wears Mario Balotelli’s shirt as pajamas after saving penalty

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Napoli’s Pepe Reina became the first goalkeeper to save a Mario Balotelli penalty in a aggressive match and now he wears the shirt that Balotelli wore while struggling this notable defeat as his triumphant bedtime apparel.

From Football Italia:

“I put on very special pyjamas now,” Reina informed Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

“It is made up of the Milan shirt Balotelli was wearing when I saved his penalty and some Napoli shorts.

“After saving the penalty, I couldn’t resist asking him for his jersey, because it was an historic occasion. He gave it to me and I introduced it here to create an uncommon pyjama equipment.”

That’s all high quality and good, but sporting Balotelli’s shirt to bed looks as if it might open a door to a daunting dream world of exploding loos and predatory enforcement officers. Reina is going to wake up in the midst of a self-guided tour of a women’s prison someday and do not know how he received there.

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Mario Balotelli apologizes for ref abuse in the third person

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Mario Balotelli received a 3-match ban for insulting the referee as he was sent off on the finish of Milan’s 2-1 loss to Napoli. Balotelli missed a penalty for the first time in his profession and scored in that match, however the official’s refusal to punish Napoli for knocking him round all through the sport pushed him over the sting. And after his own supervisor said that he must stop performing like a baby, Mario has determined to apologize. But not to everyone.

Balotelli not too long ago asserted that he should not be compared to former teammate and fellow supremely proficient and endlessly entertaining striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but when he apologizes in teh third particular person it becomes all of the tougher to keep away from comparisons. He tells La Gazzetta dello Sport (by way of Football Italia):

“To begin with I am sorry for my teammates,” mentioned Balotelli. “They train and work exhausting with me, so with this gesture I left them alone. I additionally feel guilty for the fans, who care so much, and naturally the membership.

“I apologise to the referee, as I mustn’t have reacted that method. Against Napoli it was the same old story, the fouls in opposition to me don’t appear to count and as quickly as I do something… I just need others to be punished for fouling me the identical manner I’m for fouling them. But I do realise I’ve to withstand in certain conditions.” […]

“I made a mistake when I used to be provoked. Mario acquired it improper and Mario apologises, but I don’t need to apologise to everybody as a result of it’s not as if I killed someone,” added Balo, speaking about himself in the third individual.

It is true that Mario hasn’t killed anyone, so the outrage needs to be tempered by that reality. But a professional footballer referring to himself within the third particular person is not normally seen as significantly better.

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Mario Balotelli says comparisons between him and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are a compliment to Ibra

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Mario Balotelli scored (and collected his third yellow card in as many matches this season) to help Milan ease past PSV to succeed in the Champions League group stage. After the second leg, Balotelli was asked about comparisons between him and former Inter teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Balotelli asserted that they’re different, however in a approach that channeled the total, majestic spirit of Zlatan.

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From Objective.com:

“We are two totally different folks, but evaluating me to Zlatan is a praise to him,” he told Sky Italia after his facet’s 3-zero win over PSV.

Here’s video of the interview (in Italian)…

And speaking of connections to Zlatan, Balotelli was additionally asked if he wanted to dedicate the victory to Milan proprietor Silvio Berlusconi, who is celebrating his twenty sixth 12 months with the club. “I apologise to the President, but I’m dedicating this one to Mino Raiola!” stated Mario.

Raiola serves as agent to each Balotelli and Ibrahimovic. A day earlier, when requested about one other consumer — Juventus’ Paul Pogba — the endlessly quotable Raiola had this to say (by way of Football Italia):

“How a lot does Pogba price? Actually greater than [Gareth] Bale,” Raiola told Sky Sport Italia.

“If Bale is value €120m, then Paul is worth at least twice as much. Pogba is a Salvador Dali portray, whereas Mario Balotelli is the Mona Lisa.”

And if all that is true, then Zlatan is surely a golden conflict machine formed by the lightning enriched hands of Zeus himself.

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Hellas Verona fans give Mario Balotelli ironic cheers during Milan upset

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Even earlier than Milan opened the brand new Serie A season in opposition to newly promoted Hellas Verona, Mario Balotelli was already being focused. Amidst fears and predictions that Balotelli could be topic to extra racial abuse from opposing fans, Mayor of Verona and member of the far-proper Lega Nord occasion Flavio Tosi engaged in a little bit of sufferer blaming.

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“If Balotelli provoked individuals a bit much less, then it might be even higher,” Tosi said. “There are lots of black gamers, however not all of them stoke the fireplace of the opposition fans. Most don’t have any problems. Balotelli is excellent at making himself unlikeable.”

Tosi’s comments drew much more attention and expectations of bother to the match. However in an effort to “disappoint” critics who anticipated nastiness, Verona fans made a purposeful choice to go the other manner and sarcastically cheer Balotelli. They chanted “Mario, Mario” when he first came out earlier than the match, which he laughed off. They then proceeded to cheer him each time he touched the ball. And so it seems ironic help is the brand new racism.

As for the match itself, a brace from 36-yr-old new signing Luca Toni proved to be the distinction for Verona, who gained 2-1. Toni dedicated his objectives to his daughter Bianca, born in June — a year after his son was stillborn.

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Despite plenty of good chances and near misses, Balotelli didn’t score and his frustration on the day resulted in a yellow card for arguing the referee’s choice to not award him a penalty in the ninetieth minute. After the match, Balotelli tweeted, “Compliments to Verona (the players). I take blame for our defeat. Anyway compliments to Verona once more.”

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It wasn’t all faux niceties from Verona supporters, though. Instantly after the ultimate whistle, there have been clashes with the embittered Milan fans, with the two sides throwing seats and different objects at each other.

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And to think the season has only just begun.

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‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ Mario Balotelli walks on water for Sports Illustrated cover

(Jeffery A. Salter for Sports Illustrated)

Mario Balotelli graces the moderately sensational cover of the newest Sports Illustrated challenge, walking on the water of a Miami pool with his arms outstretched. The duvet, which labels Mario “The Most Fascinating Man within the World” reads: “He is Italian, the face of AC Milan, friend to popes and prime minsters [he met his first pope final week and knows former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi because he owns Milan], topic of racist hate and wild adulation, he’s African, the face of the brand new Europe, a purple card waiting to occur, the very best younger striker in futbol.”

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Strange use of the word “futbol” (instead of the extra appropriate “calcio,” “soccer” or even “soccer”) aside, it is rare for a non-American footballer to look on the duvet of Sports Illustrated (Pele and Maradona have each completed it). The Grant Wahl story that goes with the Balotelli cowl serves as an introduction to Mario for the poor souls who are unfamiliar with him — summarizing his complicated history within the highlight and taking part in an abbreviated version of fact or fiction sport with him that Noel Gallagher did last year. Which introduced out the best quote of the piece as Balotelli defined the famous Manchester fireworks incident.

“I acquired unlucky. It wasn’t like my home was on fire. It was just the bathroom, as a result of one firework went the wrong means. It took the curtain, and the curtain got on fire and the smoke went round the home. However we weren’t inside. We were outside with the fireworks.”

This is a slightly different version from his earlier clarification that, “I didn’t set any fireworks off, it was a buddy of mine. I didn’t know anything about it until I heard shouting coming from the lavatory.” Like everybody else, even Mario Balotelli has a tough time distinguishing the reality relating to Mario Balotelli.

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Only Mario Balotelli got private time with Pope Francis during Italy-Argentina audience

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Ahead of Wednesday’s friendly between Italy and Argentina dedicated to Buenos Aires-born Pope Francis, the two sides come together to meet the pontiff at the Vatican. But only Mario Balotelli got the chance to speak with him privately.

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From the AP:

One of Italy’s national team members, Mario Balotelli, who is black and has been the target of fans’ racism, was the only player to get private time with the pope. Francis and the striker spoke together in a small room off the sumptuous Clementine Hall where the audience was held.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Balotelli looked ”emotional” after their talk but that the player declined to say what he discussed with Francis. On Monday, Balotelli remarked that perhaps the pope might offer him special greetings because of his birthday this week.

It’s unclear if Pope Francis intended to have this private discussion. According to Football Italia, “Balotelli reportedly got up after the ceremony had concluded and went after the Pope into another room, where they spent several minutes talking privately.” So this could have been Mario seizing the moment.

But what did they discuss that left Balotelli “emotional”? Did the pope bless his new pet pig? Absolve him of that time he threw darts at Man City youth team players? Or maybe they just discussed the upcoming album from Mario’s friend Drake. The world may never know.

As for the other players, Leo Messi and Gigi Buffon presented the pope with a gift that he didn’t seem particularly enthused about.

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But getting to shake the hands attached to the spiritual power that is Andrea Pirlo’s beard was clearly a transcendent moment.

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