Wednesday Kickoff: Marquee friendlies galore, Milan official drops Balotelli slur, and more

BY DAN KARELL

For the first time in nearly three months, international football returns to most of the world, with European powerhouses highlighting Wednesday’s FIFA international schedule.

England, in their Football Association’s 150th birthday year, are hosting Neymar and Brazil at Wembley Stadium, with the match being Luiz Felipe Scolari’s first since he took charge of Brazil for the second time. Neymar has already created controversy, stating that England has no chance of winning the World Cup in 2014.

England meanwhile will be partnering Jack Wilshere with Steven Gerrard in the center of midfield, as Roy Hodgson looks to find the perfect combination for his England side, who currently sit in second place of Group H.

Also on display this Wednesday, second ranked Germany travels to Paris, to take on France, seeing Frank Ribery taken on many of his current Bayern Munich teammates at the Stade de France, while a defensively frail Italian side travel to Amsterdam to take on the Netherlands. Stephen El Sharaway and Mario Balotelli will highlight a young, but supremely talented Italian attack.

Spain play against current South American champions Uruguay in Qatar, while Lionel Messi and Argentina will visit Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden in the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

Here are some other stories to get your Wednesday started:

BALOTELLI RECEIVES ABUSE FROM MILAN VP

It may not be surprising that Mario Balotelli is in the news again, but the reasons why are definitely cause for alarm.

Just days after completing his transfer to AC Milan from Manchester City, Balotelli has already begun receiving racial abuse, and this time from within his own club.

The brother of Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, Paolo Berlusconi, referred to Balotelli using racially derogatory language while speaking at a political meeting in Monza, just outside of Milan. The club had already been in the news recently for the brave stance that Kevin Prince-Boateng took during a match in January against Pro Patria.

QUICK KICKS

Lazio striker Miroslav Klose has been ruled out for up to two months after suffering a gruesome knee-injury last Saturday. (REPORT)

Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon’s entire board of directors has resigned, as the club sit in ninth place in the Portuguese league table. (REPORT)

Hungarian club Debrecen have confirmed the reports that their 2009 Champions League match against Liverpool was fixed. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you think that Neymar is correct in thinking England have no shot? Do you see AC Milan or UEFA taking any action against Paolo Berlusconi? Do you believe that Mexico can continue their winning ways in competitive matches?

Share your thoughts below.

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

31 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Marquee friendlies galore, Milan official drops Balotelli slur, and more

  1. Tyler says:

    I would need someone who speaks Italian to confirm this but I wonder if the term Berlusconi used to refer to Balotelli was taken out of context? I know depending on the context in Spanish (and from having been called it), “negro” can be a term of endearment or alternatively, a derogatory term.

    • MA1 Rodriguez says:

      “negro” just means “black” nothing. In Argentina, “negro” is someone likes cumbia.

      • Daniel says:

        That is not quite true. While it may be used to classify someone that likes cumbia, in Argentina, more likely than not, the term “negro” and the severity or intention is dependent on the way it is used. It can be used as a term of endearment or be use as a derogatory term. OR it can mean that someone has a black heart. It is really all dependent on who is saying it and the way it was said.

  2. James says:

    Your own bosses calling you the “family’s little ni**er”. That is difficult. Very difficult. I feel for Balotelli on this one.

    • MA1 Rodriguez says:

      “nero” means “black”.

      • James says:

        Even if the word doesn’t have as negative on a connotation in Italy as it does here, it’s still a remarkably offensive statement.

        Is it as bad as making monkey chants? Maybe not, but it’s the same cultural acceptance of racism, and is truly disturbing coming from one of the biggest names in Italian soccer.

        • MA1 Rodriguez says:

          Just means “black”.
          Now, theres words used with connotation in Italy, Italians are blunt and honest this, heck, Italians use regionist words against each other.

  3. 23716 says:

    Note to self, never ever visit Italy

    • James says:

      Some of you are so incredibly stupid. The rest of the world doesn’t have white guilt and doesn’t feel the need to embrace America’s brainwashed idea of putting blacks on pedestal and treating them like Gods..

      Please don’t visit Italy. An Al Sharpton clone like you wouldn’t even appreciate the beautiful art, food, architecture, and thousands of years of cultural history.

      • patrick says:

        anyone who knows anything about italian culture would know that in fact, Italy has a big problem with racism. If you can’t acknowledge that, you need to brush up on your history. Actually, maybe you’ll find this enlightening:

        link to guardian.co.uk

        HE WAS BOOED BY HIS OWN NATIONAL TEAM FANS WHO WERE HOLDING A BANNER THAT SAID “NO TO A MULTI ETHNIC NATIONAL TEAM”.

      • Miguel Rubio says:

        That is a completely offense comment that reeks of ignorance. I can only hope you are not an American because everything you just wrote is absolutely disgusting and has no place in our society.

        You and Paolo deserve each other.

      • XPK says:

        An acknowledgement of the centuries of treating black people as equivaltent to livestock property isn’t “white guilt”. It’s just acknowledging how many nations kidnapped and enslaved as much of Africa as possible to fuel their wealth and progress.

        • James says:

          BUT and this is a big BUT. Italy never had slaves. In fact, most of Western Europe never had slaves. So why should they feel American and UK “white guilt” when they had no hand in our past evils?

          It’s like a convicted criminal being released from prison and preaching to people that have never been arrested to get their act together or they will end up back in prison. A bit hypocritical, no?

          • patrick says:

            just becasue one doesnt own slaves doesnt mean there has been, or is racial equality. IF you REALLY think there are no problems in Italy, check this out:

            link to guardian.co.uk

          • Other James says:

            I see. So the fact that Italy was not a slave nation, means that Berlusconi can racially abuse them now.

            Gotta make up for lost time I guess. Makes tons of sense man.

            Go to school man

          • XPK says:

            I realize since the country of Italy was founded in 1861 they have not allowed trading in slaves. Various inhabitors of the Italian region have historically participated in trading in slaves before the country was founded.
            You might want to google a TIME article from 2010 entitled “African Immigrants in Italy: Slave Labor for the Mafia” for more current events.

  4. MMV says:

    So how did Neymar spark controversy??? He just stated the truth. You are dillusional if you think England has a chance. Their history of choking speaks for itself!

    • Gnarls says:

      It’s controversial since Neymar is in England about to play the team he’s badmouthing.

      But it’s so very true.

  5. Dudester says:

    Neymar’s comments shouldn’t be controversial.Only to the over bloated English fans.

  6. Gnarls says:

    Someone please link me to one of your shady streaming websites so I can watch the USMNT game at work today, please!

  7. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    What about the ignorant Hondurian player? Is there any blondes? in this current USNT?

  8. Charles Fix says:

    Let me start some controversy. The US who won England’s last world cup group has no chance either.

  9. dan says:

    Europe is a bunch of racist trash, no new news here

  10. Colin Reese says:

    He was called “NEGRETTO” The N-word. Really nasty episode.

  11. Colin Reese says:

    There’s a difference in Italian between “nero” and “negro” and “negretto” No sugar coating this one. A super racist comment.

  12. vipero says:

    Come to Italy, no worries.
    No more worries than going almost everywhere in the world: respect the people, the people would respect you.
    Just be careful to support the right team when in a stadium.
    Football is a damn serious thing out here ;o)