Friday Kickoff: Man City willing to sell Balotelli, Terry returns for Chelsea, and more


Photo by ISIphotos.com

BY DAN KARELL

Mario Balotelli’s days with Manchester City appear to be numbered, and now word has surfaced of the English Premier League champions putting a specific price tag on the enigmatic striker.

Inter Milan has the first option to buy Balotelli, but Man City has let AC Milan know that the Italian national team striker can be had for €30 million, the same total Manchester City paid for Balotelli in 2010.

Injuries and a very public dust-up with manager Roberto Mancini have put Balotelli’s future in jeopardy with Manchester City

Here are some more stories to get your Friday going:

TERRY NEARS RETURN

Chelsea captain John Terry inched closer to his Chelsea return, with a solid 45-minute performance with the Chelsea U-21’s against Fulham last night at the Blues’ Cobham training ground.

The 32-year-old defender started the match and said afterwards that he had no pain in his knee, and was anxious to get back into the first team.

Terry has missed 16 games for Chelsea since injuring his ligaments in his right knee on November 11, in a 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

ZLATAN ESCAPES LFP BAN

Star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic saved his club Paris Saint Germain from worry this morning after he was cleared of guilt by the LFP from an incident in last month against Lyon.

During the match on December 16, Ibrahimovic stepped on Lyon center back Dejan Lovren’s head as Ibrahimovic attempted to jump over the falling defender. Ibra’s foot came down on the side of Lovren’s face as it was coming back to the ground.

In a statement released after a hearing yesterday between both parties and the LFP, the federation announced that “it couldn’t establish beyond doubt that Ibrahimovic had intentionally walked on Lovren.”

Had Ibrahimovic been found guilty, he would likely have received a three-match ban, according to reports. The Swedish international has 18 goals this season for PSG, who are top of the table in Ligue 1.

BOATENG WON’T BE LEAVING MILAN, DECLARES VP GALLIANI

A.C. Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani has declared that midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng will not be leaving the San Siro during this transfer window, or for the foreseeable future.

Boateng garnered massive media attention when he walked out of a friendly match last week against Pro-Patria after experiencing racist abuse from the home fans, and has recently said he would speak with his agent and decide if he still wanted to play in Italy.

However, Galliani has all but ended any debate of Boateng leaving Milan.

QUICK KICKS

Montpellier and Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda has picked up a groin injury in training, possibly ruling him out of the African Cup of Nationa. (REPORT)

West Bromwich reject £5 million bid from Queens Park Rangers for Swedish international Jonas Olsson. (REPORT)

Former Portuguese international Luis Boa Morte has been released by League Two side Chesterfield. (REPORT)

New Cruz Azul signings Nicolás Bertolo and Teófilo Gutiérrez will make their debut’s for the club this weekend in the match against San Luis. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? When do you see Terry making his full Chelsea comeback? Should Zlatan have deserved a ban for his actions? Do you think Boateng should stay in Italy?

Share your thoughts below.

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29 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Man City willing to sell Balotelli, Terry returns for Chelsea, and more

  1. CJ says:

    Why on Earth would anybody buy Balotelli? He’s a team cancer.

    • Old School says:

      A completely fair question and something I would agree with you on.

      However, the kid has immense, IMMENSE talent. This, of course, clouds the judgement of managers and clubs alike. It’s the flawed and timeless mentality of, “if he were my player, he wouldn’t act like this” or “if I took THIS preventive measure, it wouldn’t result in that kind of behavior.” philosophy that the last man was doing it wrong.

      Someone will buy him because they see he could be one of the best/the best strikers in the World. Someone will buy him because they forget he has the maturity of a 12 year old.

      • prof says:

        That’s what you get when you put young talented players in a pro environment at the age of ten. Cant believe everyone wants to adopt that type of system here. A kid cant grow up healthy when he is around pros and agents and hype

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think Mancini and Ballotelli are two Italian peas in a pod temperment wise, and it’s worth noting that whatever his rep is, Balotelli re-joined Mancini at City after playing for him at Inter. FWIW Mancini was denying transfer rumors recently, although sometimes that happens up until pretty close before they leave. Or sometimes no means no.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I also think if you look at Man City’s form last year and match it up against when Mancini had his run-ins with Tevez and Balotelli and stopped playing them (then re-started), interesting patterns emerge. They started strong with both, faded to second as the feuds got rolling, and then won the title on a streak with both back in the team.

        I think both are serious man-management problems but I’m not sure City competes with ManU without them. In terms of, “Why?”

    • DJ says:

      The one thing I absolutely love about Balotelli is his stone-cold-killer penalties. I’m a big City fan, and while I’m nervous any time he’s on the field (flopping, retaliatory tackles that are childishly obvious fouls)… I’m ecstatic when he steps up to take a penalty.

      Weidenfeller tries to bust his balls, but no luck:
      link to youtube.com

      Sheer beauty against Sunderland:
      link to youtube.com

      And of course this one:
      link to youtube.com

    • Patrick says:

      Here’s the thing, andi think it’s quite important: many, many of balotellis teammates love him, it’s the coaches that he has problems with (and youth players). I think given a certain type of coach, and maturity (he’s still so young) he’ll leave much of his behaviors behind

  2. bgood says:

    Did you see the Euro semifinals versus Germany? That’s why.

    Although I do agree he is a cancer, it seems as though the possibility of a few goals helps clubs see right past that. I know it is just wsihful thinking, but I hope he gets sold to a ‘lesser’ league like Turkey or China and he is forced to languish out of the main world spot light for a while.

    • biff says:

      I am starting to think Balotelli’s only chance of getting his career back on track with a chance of realizing his awesome potential is to move back home to Italy where he can be near his dear sweet mom and Italy national team coach Cesare Prandelli, who seems able to handle Balotelli and get the most out of him. It’s clear that Balotelli does not respond to Mancini.

      But personally, no matter how good he might become, I don’t see why any team would want to risk putting him in their locker room.

  3. Mike says:

    I dont think you can call him a team cancer when his current team is the defending EPL champion and currently in second place. And his national team made it to the finals of the EURO’s. He may be a moron, a DB, and any other term you want, but team cancer implies he brings his team down. When in reality his teams continue to win/be in the mix for championships

  4. Ed says:

    MLS. Balotelli would definitely get people interested in pro soccer over here, both with the antics and his insane talent. At a minimum it would get MLS on sportscenter more often..

    • Kosh says:

      From the any publicity is good publicity department, me, I’ll pass.

      I think MLS is doing just fine on it’s own right now, thank you very much. Howeever, if it takes the carzy antics of a player to get us on SportsCenter more often then perhaps I am wrong – maybe MLS is in more trouble than I think…nah, the league does not need his antics. His talnet though, YES! How can we separate the two? Hmmm…

    • Stracho says:

      You could almost buy an MLS team for 30M euros (okay slight exaggeration)

      Also his personality makes him way too risky an investment. By comparison a player like Kaka has a great risk-reward.

      • THomas says:

        Very slight exaggeration, I think the expansion fee is only $40 million or so?

        • Patrick says:

          That’s not buying a club. After paying the franchise price you need to pay for players, infrastructure, a stadium, a front office, etc etc. These days, the franchise fee is the cheap part of the process

  5. THomas says:

    I’d take him at Fulham, no questions asked for any price. Just to see him and the Berba interacting on the field would be worth the price of admissoin.

    Not to mention their dueling t-shirts.

    • Old School says:

      The same Fulham that had issues with Dempsey? If they can’t handle an open and honest Deuce, there’s not a chance in hell with this hypothetical they could handle a borderline insane and immature Balotelli.

      For pure comedy, I wouldn’t mind seeing it. At least this time we’d know the manager isn’t making up stories about the player dysfunction.

  6. Rey Pygsterio says:

    Balotelli to Cosmos in the grand tradition of Georgio Chinaglia.

    • Aguinaga says:

      Read that Mario to USA article did ya?

      • Rey Pygsterio says:

        Yes, I did read that. I am taking the ludicrous idea one step further by suggesting he sign with an NASL team instead of the RBNY.

        I would love it, though, if the Cosmos could sign a major star once they get in MLS.

  7. Austin says:

    Balotelli= Terrell Owens

    • Old School says:

      That’s a comparison I was thinking as well, though, I don’t think T.O. ever had issues with effort on the field.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Except Balotelli has been on title winning teams in 08, 09, 10, and 12 at Inter and City, while pumping in double digit goals most every season.

      I’m not sure I’d have him on my team but among sporting jerks he is more towards the “helps net you silverware” end of the spectrum where one has to weigh cost and benefit.

    • Northzax says:

      Not TO. randy Moss. Preternatural talent, stone cold killer when he’s on and the focus, nigh on useless when he’s not. From the very beginning.