Balotelli’s future at Inter in the balance

(GSM) – Mario Balotelli’s future at Internazionale is still uncertain. The striker doesn’t know whether he will stay at the club or leave to one of the interested clubs this summer.

“I don’t know if I will stay at Inter,” Balotelli told some journalists who asked him about his future after finishing an exam at the Institute of Milan.

His agent Mino Raiola immediately dismissed the comment by saying: “Balotelli is not on the market.”

The controversial forward, who was involved in several conflicts with former Inter manager Jose Mourinho, also hinted at his preferred destinations, revelaing that he likes Arsenal.

Balotelli also gave his reaction to interest from Manchester City.

“I always hear from Mancini. He made me play in Serie A,” he concluded.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Spain, Paraguay into W.Cup quarters as stars struggle

European champions Spain reached the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Portugal, sending Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most expensive player, heading moodily to the exit.

Spain, for whom star striker Fernando Torres was again overshadowed by goal scorer David Villa, will tackle Paraguay in Johannesburg on Saturday for a semi-final spot after the South Americans defeated Japan 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out.

New Barcelona signing Villa scored his fourth goal of the World Cup in the 63rd minute of an absorbing Cape Town encounter that also saw Portugal’s Ricardo Costa sent off.

Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque insisted that Torres — currently in Villa’s shadow and who was replaced by Joseba Llorente in the second half — had done his bit as Spain seek to land the trophy for the first time.

“Fernando worked hard as we all have over the past month. The substitution was made because Torres had done a lot of running and we needed fresh legs,” said Del Bosque.

“Llorente had a very good final half-hour. It wasn’t a change of tactics. Llorente gave us vitality.”

Ronaldo left the stadium refusing to talk to reporters.

“We marked Ronaldo well and neutralised his threat,” said Del Bosque.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz admitted: “Spain had the better chances and deserved to win.”

For Paraguay, it was fourth time lucky after last-16 exits in 1986, 1998 and 2002.

Their win over Japan in Pretoria, after the game had ended 0-0 after extra time, also paved the way for a possible South American sweep of the semi-final places with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay still in contention.

“Argentina still have a great chance, Brazil as always in the World Cup are getting better and we’re also there trying to do things right,” said Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino.

After a largely sterile and goalless 120 minutes at Loftus Versfeld stadium, the first five penalties went in before luckless Japan defender Yuichi Komano aimed too high and the ball struck the crossbar before flying over.

That left Paraguay two successful kicks away from glory and Nelson Valdez and extra-time substitute Oscar Cardozo calmly slotted their kicks past Eiji Kawashima.

Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, under pressure to rethink his opposition to goal-line technology and video replays, apologised to England and Mexico after referee blunders featured prominently in their last 16 defeats.

Blatter was reacting to a legitimate Frank Lampard goal that was disallowed at the crucial stage with England trailing Germany 2-1 on Sunday and pressing hard just before half-time.

Television replays showed the ball landing well over the line before it bounced back into the hands of Manuel Neuer, who cleared and the Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda waved play on with Germany finishing 4-1 victors.

A few hours later Carlos Tevez headed Argentina in front from an offside position en route to a 3-1 win over Mexico and the situation was inflamed by the crowd seeing a big-screen replay.

Blatter told a news conference that apologies to English and Mexican officials had been accepted and said the technology debate would reopen at a July 21-22 meeting in Cardiff.

He stressed that only goal-line technology would be discussed, and this would not have offered any assistance to Roberto Rosetti, the Italian referee of the Mexico match.

Neither Larrionda nor Rosetti were on the list of officials who are staying on for the quarter-finals that was released later by FIFA.

Referees defended themselves at an open training session north of Pretoria with spokesman Jose Maria Garcia Aranda labelling World Cup match officials “excellent”.

“We have to look at 54 matches and the decisions the referees have made in them,” he said, adding sarcastically, “apparently the referees took only four or five decisions in these 54 matches and all of them were controversial.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Hodgson to be named new Liverpool manager today

(GSM) – Roy Hodgson will be named the new manager at Liverpool today.

The Daily Mail reports the current Fulham boss will be named the new manager at Anfield later today after reaching an agreement over a two-year deal.

62-year-old Hodgson will replace Rafael Benitez who left the club this summer after a six-year stint at the Merseyside club.

The Liverpool bosses have ended a month-long quest for a new manager after assessing a short-list that also included Manuel Pellegrini and Didier Deschamps.

Hodgson’s broad experience and his recent performances with Fulham gave him a decisive edge, and he will begin his Anfield reign with immediate effect on a two-year deal worth around £3million a year. Fulham will receive around £2.5m in compensation.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Ashley Cole hints at Chelsea exit

(GSM) – Ashley Cole has admitted he might be forced abroad and leave Chelsea this summer.

The England fullback has been linked with Real Madrid and Cole admits media intrusion is driving him mad.

“I always try my hardest for England and Chelsea but the intrusion and pressure I feel is making my life hell,” he said.

The comments come as the Daily Mail revealed a rant by Cole before the World Cup about England and its ‘people’ via his mobile phone.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Former England star in no rush to join Celtic

Former England defender Sol Campbell insists he is in no rush to join Scottish giants Celtic.

Campbell has held talks with Celtic officials about a move to Scotland, but is now ready to hold talks with Arsenal, before making a decision on his future.

The 35-year-old’s short-term contract at Arsenal expired earlier this summer.

“I’m here to get a feel for the place more than anything else,” Campbell told the Daily Record.

“I have to talk to Arsenal as well because they are still at the table, I have to talk to everybody but the main thing for me right now is my wedding and honeymoon.

“I don’t think I’ll be committing myself to any club until after that.”

“I’ve met with Neil Lennon (Celtic boss),” added Campbell. “The club know they will win the league or finish second. It depends on where they want to go in Europe.”

[Source: The Daily Record]

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Man City and Arsenal chasing Inter star

Manchester City and Arsenal are reportedly ready to make a move for Inter Milan star Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli has previously hinted that he could leave the Italian champions this summer and admitted on Tuesday that he was happy with the interest shown in him by Arsenal.

Il Corriere dello Sport reports that City and Arsenal are considering making bids of around €25million for the 19-year-old.

City boss Roberto Mancini gave the striker his breakthrough at Inter Milan and the two are reportedly still good friends.

Balotelli struggled while Jose Mourinho was in charge at Inter Milan, but has admitted he is ready to give new boss Rafael Benitez a chance.

[Source: Il Corriere dello Sport]

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Cristano Ronaldo’s spit at TV camera sparked outrage (Video)

Cristano Ronaldo was clearly upset after Portugal suffered a 0-1 defeat against Spain in the last 16. An unhappy Ronaldo looks right at the camera man as he passes by, and then spits right towards him

The winners Spain will now face Paraguay in the World Cup quater-final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXsL5EmOo2A

Wed 30 June, 2010
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England fan fined over World Cup intrusion

A football fan who berated England’s World Cup team after intruding into their locker room has been fined after admitting being in an area without authorisation, a court heard on Wednesday.

Pavlos Joseph, from London, paid a fine of around 100 dollars on Tuesday, his lawyer told a hearing of a special World Cup court in Cape Town.

“The admission of guilt fine in the amount of 750 rand was paid by the accused yesterday on a charge of contravening section six, subsection one, of the FIFA Act … namely being in a designated area without being in possession of an accreditation pass,” his lawyer Craig Webster told the court.

A British tabloid newspaper journalist, Simon Wright, has also been charged with harbouring Joseph in the aftermath of the intrusion which followed England’s 0-0 draw with Algeria in Cape Town on June 18.

Wright is due to appear before the same court later in the day.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Ronaldo is a broken man after Portugal´s defeat

Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo confessed to being a broken man on Wednesday after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Iberian rivals Spain in their World Cup Last 16 match on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Real Madrid star – who once again failed to live up to his club form for his country at a major championships – said he felt a deep sadness at the exit at the hands of the European champions, who progressed to a quarter-final meeting with Paraguay thanks to David Villa’s fourth goal of the tournament.

“I feel a broken man, completely disconsolate, frustrated and an unimaginable sadness,” he said in a statement released on the website of Gestifute, which is owned by his agent.

Ronaldo, whose side failed to score in three of their four matches save a 7-0 humbling of North Korea where he ended his near two year goal drought, also denied he insulted coach Carlos Queiroz.

He refused to answer questions save to remark to a TV crew ‘How can I explain it (the defeat)? Ask the question of Carlos Queiroz’.

Ronaldo, who ended up trophyless at Real Madrid last season after his 94million euros transfer from Manchester United, was roundly criticised for that and for not assuming his responsibilities as the national captain.

“When I said put the question to the coach, it is just because Carlos Queiroz was holding a press conference,” said Ronaldo, the 2008 World Footballer of the Year.

“I was not in a position to explain what was what. I am a human being, and like any human being I suffer and I have the right to suffer alone.

“I know that I am the captain, and I have always assumed and will assume my responsibilities.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Returning N.Korea squad gets airport welcome

North Korea’s World Cup team arrived home stony-faced after three straight losses but brightened up when welcomed at the airport by families and supporters, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper said on Wednesday.

The North Koreans, competing in the tournament for the first time since 1966, put up an impressive 1-2 performance against Brazil but were routed 0-7 by Portugal and 0-3 by the Ivory Coast in the other two group games.

The impoverished communist state was gripped by football fever after the dogged display against Brazil, Choson Sinbo reported earlier.

Authorities carried the clash with Portugal live but the hail of goals from the European side left the commentator speechless.

Choson Sinbo said on Wednesday the squad arrived stony-faced in rain on Tuesday but “regained their smiles after being welcomed by their families” and supporters crowding the airport.

“Related officials comforted the players by saying ‘work appreciated’,” the paper said.

“The dominant voice is that the players will reap good results in the future if they use the confidence and experience gained from the advance to the World Cup.”

Speaking in South Africa after the Brazil game, coach Kim Jong-Hun had dismissed suggestions that there might be “consequences” for him and the team back home if they failed to impress against Portugal and Ivory Coast.

“Sometimes you win or lose, it doesn’t always turn out the way you want, but if it doesn’t turn out the way we want, there will be no further consequences for that,” he told reporters.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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