Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Mario Balotelli has been left out of Italy's 23-man squad to face Portugal following criticism of his performance in the Azzurri's 1-1 draw with Poland on Friday.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini admitted the Nice striker did not play well against Poland and said "his fitness levels are an issue right now" before omitting Balotelli from his squad for Monday's match. F

ormer Juventus and Roma player Zbigniew Boniek accused Balotelli of being "15 kilos overweight" after his performance against Poland, which ended when he was replaced by Andrea Belotti after 62 minutes at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

There is no place in Mancini's squad for Davide Zappacosta, Lorenzo Pellegrini or Cristiano Biraghi, all of whom started the game against Poland. Alessio Cragno, Daniele Rugani and Nicolo Zaniolo have also been left out of Italy's squad for the Nations League clash in Lisbon.

Sergio Ramos insists that Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric deserved to win the UEFA Player of the Year award ahead of those with "more marketing", such as Cristiano Ronaldo.

Modric's win sparked controversy in Italy, with Ronaldo's representative, Jorge Mendes, blasting the snub as "ridiculous and shameful".

However, Ramos believes that Modric, who played a key role in the club's Champions League victory, deserved the award over the Portuguese.

"There are few players that I am as proud of having in my team as [Modric]," said Ramos, per the Daily Mail .

"He is a great friend and a great player. He is one of the few players who [if he wins] would make me as happy as if they had given it to me."

Ramos also appeared to take a dig at Ronaldo in claiming that Modric is more unassuming than the Juve striker, who has yet to score a goal in Serie A.

"Maybe there are players with more marketing, with a bigger name but Modric deserves that award," he added.

Robinho has revealed that he wanted to leave Real Madrid for Chelsea but that he was forced to go to Manchester City instead.The Brazilian explained how it was a bust-up between the Bernabeu club and the London side that led him to go to City.

"I wanted to go to Chelsea, Scolari told me that I could make the difference for him in the team,"he said."However, Real Madrid ended up badly with them, they didn't like the way that Chelsea sold shirts with my name on them before the deal was done.

"I am sure it was this that led to the negotiations to fail and it was a case of pride for Real Madrid. On top of this Chelsea were in the Champions league and City weren't."Robinho denied that he was sorry to leave Madrid.

"I don't regret leaving Madrid but I am sorry that it ended badly when I went," he continued.

"Madrid were the club that opened their doors and gave me the chance to succeed in Europe, perhaps the way that I fought to leave harmed the memories of the good things I did for the team."

Dele Alli has withdrawn from the England squad to face Switzerland due to a minor muscle strain.

The Tottenham midfielder played 90 minutes as the Three Lions lost their opening UEFA Nations League game to Spain at Wembley on Saturday.

However, a slight injury sustained during that game has now seen him pull out of the squad, and Gareth Southgate has opted against calling up a replacement for the friendly on Tuesday.

Indeed, Southgate has already called up uncapped Leicester duo Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell for the clash with Switzerland.

Alli has played in all four of Spurs' games thus far this season, scoring in the opening day win over Newcastle United, and played a key role in the Three Lions' run to the World Cup semi-finals over the summer.

Though he was rested against both Panama and Belgium in the group stages, Alli scored a key goal against Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Former Paraguay and America striker Salvador Cabanas has revealed that he had agreed a move to Manchester United before the tragic shooting that all but ended his career at the top level.

Cabanas was regarded as one of South America's finest goalscorers in his heyday, and was named the continent's Footballer of the Year in 2007 as well as finishing as the Copa Libertadores top scorer two years running.

But in January 2010, shortly after leading Paraguay to a spot in the World Cup with six strikes in qualifying, Cabanas was shot in the head in a Mexican nightclub after an altercation with a known drug trafficker.

Now working in Paraguayan capital Asuncion selling bread, Cabanas revealed that he was set to line up at Old Trafford before his life was turned upside down.

"I had signed a pre-contract agreement for £1.3m for a transfer to Europe. They told me my destination would be Manchester United," he told Telefuturo.

"Club America doubled my salary and gave me one apartment in Acapulco and another in Cancun to try and keep me at the club."

Cabanas' recovery from the serious head injuries sustained in the attack was marred by conflicts with America over unpaid wages, and he admits that he felt isolated during that period.

Jose Mourinho has been branded a "pain in the butt" by one of the organisers of the International Champions Cup.

Mourinho was unhappy during the tournament this summer, insisting that he could not utilise a full-strength squad due to the World Cup commitments faced by his players.

And ICC organiser Charlie Stillitano admits that the Portuguese can be difficult to deal with.

"Yeah we had a few cheeky words together," Stillitano told ESPN."He's a good man and he's been really good to us and I understand him better than most I'd say.

"I think managers that I know see us as the guys who take them abroad. And for them the reality is that they take it very seriously. The managers take it very seriously. And the commercial people take it very serious for their business to grow their brand.

"And Jose, he's a pain in the butt when it comes to making sure everything is perfect at his training facility. And I would expect whatever teams come over from La Liga are going to torture me too in the same way to make sure that everything is perfect."

Former Chelsea captain John Terry is set to join Spartak Moscow following his departure from Aston Villa, as per reports.

The 37-year-old is currently undergoing a medical ahead of a move to the Russian Premier League side, where it is reported he will sign a two-year deal.

It is understood that Spartak moved for Terry after French centre-back Samuel Gigot was ruled out for the season with a serious injury, with the Chelsea legend available on a free transfer after his contract at Villa expired.

Terry had been linked with a move to Sporting in Portugal across the summer, with presidential candidate Pedro Madeira Rodrigues going so far as to say he had an agreement in place.

A return to Villa was also touted for the former England defender, having recently said that he feels there is "unfinished business" in Birmingham.

Thibaut Courtois admits he feels "sad" about how some Chelsea fans have turned against him following his transfer to Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old was at Chelsea for seven seasons - though the first three were spent on loan at Atletico Madrid - before leaving for Real in a £35m deal over the summer.

The Belgium international revealed he made his decision to leave in March and explained that is part of the reason he delayed reporting back to Chelsea following the World Cup.

When asked about some Chelsea fans feeling angry about the manner of his exit, Courtois said: "It makes me feel sad and obviously they don't know all the truth.

"I think in March the decision was already made and I thought the club would accept it.

"Then because the transfer was closed I did not show up because I thought it better not to disturb the team and the squad.

"If I did go there maybe, I didn't want to be toxic, so obviously it is a pity because I love Chelsea."

Antoine Griezmann has confirmed he would move to Inter Miami if David Beckham wanted him to.

Beckham has set up the MLS franchise, which will begin playing competitively in 2020 .

Inter Miami's name was revealed earlier this week , with rumours already circulating regarding who Beckham could target, with the ex-England captain boasting a fearsome contacts book.

And Griezmann has now revealed that he would be willing to move to America were he to be asked, though he says that Miami is not his only possible destination.

"If Beckham wants me in his club, then I'll go," he told L'Equipe . "I want to finish my career in the US. I don't know yet if it's going to be in Miami or Los Angeles.

"They are two great cities. I like the mentality and the show culture of the US."

Leroy Sane has confirmed the birth of his first child.The Germany international was absent from his country's World Cup squad as they were eliminated at the group stages, while Pep Guardiola left him out of the matchday squad to face Newcastle due to concerns over his attitude.

Indeed, the Catalan believes that his omission sent a message to the forward.'

Sane recently withdrew from the Germany squad, too, having been called up again by Joachim Low, and the reason has now been revealed, with him being present at the birth of his daughter.

"Incredibly happy to let you know about the birth of my daughter last night," he wrote on Twitter. "Mother and child are doing fine."

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