Friday Kickoff: Mancini plays down Balotelli skirmish, Pato sold to Corinthians, and more

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

BY DAN KARELL

In the aftermath of yet another embarrassing off-the-field moment involving Mario Balotelli, manager Roberto Mancini, directly involved in the incident, has backed the young striker to stay in the Manchester City squad.

Pictures surfaced yesterday afternoon of an altercation between Mancini and Balotelli during the morning training. According to the reports, Balotelli was adjudged to have made a harsh tackle on teammate Scott Sinclair, prompting his boss Mancini to ask him to leave the pitch. When Balotelli refused, Mancini tried to forcibly remove him, with the manager admitting that he lost his temper.

Mancini did rule out Balotelli from starting this weekend’s FA Cup tie against Watford, as the temperamental striker is not fully fit from an injury.

Here are some other stories to get your Friday started:

PATO COMPLETES MOVE BACK HOME TO BRAZIL

After five and a half injury-riddled years with A.C. Milan in Serie A, Alexandre Pato has returned to his native Brazil in a €15 million transfer to join the current Club World Cup champions, Corinthians.

Pato moved to Milan in 2007 as a 17 year old, but missed significant time each season with a variety of muscle injuries. Still, when fit, he has shown for both club and country that he can be one of the best strikers in the world.

ROONEY TO SPEND FURTHER TWO WEEKS ON SIDELINES

Manchester United were dealt a blow today, as Wayne Rooney’s injury prognosis was worsened, and he is set to miss next weekend’s match against rivals Liverpool.

The striker, who injured his knee in training on Christmas Day, was expected to be back to full fitness by now. However, the injury has failed to heal properly, and United will be without the striker’s services until at least January 20, when they face Tottenham.

In the meantime, while Rooney has been on the training table, Javier Hernandez and Robin Van Persie have combined to score seven goals and lead the team to three wins.

TRANSFER WINDOW UPDATES

American-born Italian forward Giuseppe Rossi is reportedly nearing a transfer to Fiorentina. (REPORT)

Demba Ba signs a three-and-a-half-year deal with Chelsea, for a reported £7 million.

Mathieu Debuchy signs a five-and-a-half-year contract with Newcastle, for a reported £5 million.

Joe Cole signs a one-and-a-half-year contract with boyhood club West Ham, on a free transfer.

Tal Ben-Haim signs a six-month contract with former boss Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers, on a free transfer.

Arsenal’s want-away striker Marouane Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan until the end of the season. (REPORT)

Celtic FC are in negotiations with Standard Liege to add Israeli international defender Rami Gershon. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Should Manchester City sell Balotelli in January? See Pato’s return to Brazil helping his World Cup chances? Are there any transfers that have surprised you so far?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Mancini plays down Balotelli skirmish, Pato sold to Corinthians, and more

  1. THomas says:

    Rossi to Fiorentina…could he be joined by Jozy so we could see what could have been?

    • RK says:

      I was wondering what his plans were, with Villarreal in the second division.

      Ha, his wiki page says it’s official ;)

  2. Rory says:

    Rossi sighting… cue the same comments as always

  3. MLSsnob says:

    Man, I though Marouane Chamakh was going to be an animal. Totally missed on that one.

  4. yikes says:

    Brazilian league just jumped to a global top 10 leagur recently.

    • Stracho says:

      top 5?

      • Adam M. says:

        Spain, England, Germany are ahead of everyone. Italy and France are next. Brazil’s 4 best teams probably would fall short of Italy’s 4 best over a full season, but top to bottom Brazil is probably in the same discussion as France. Easily top 10, easily best on this side of the planet. Really entertaining with loads of top drawer talent no matter what.

  5. Josh D says:

    I’m most upset that the Brazilian league got Seedorf. He would have been a monster in MLS. An absolutely professional with a lot still to offer. I wonder how hard MLS pushed for him – if any.

  6. biff says:

    I am wondering whether Jozy might be a potential replacement for Demba Ba at Newcastle. Yep, that’s what I am wondering…