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Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer has claimed that the club are hoping to win the FFA Cup, which is being inaugurated this season. It is a trophy that will be similar to the English FA Cup. Melbourne Victory have been one of the top teams in the Australian A League. They have won the A-League twice in their history. After the introduction of this new cup competition, there is hope that they will be able to increase the trophy cabinet in the coming seasons. Leijer says that the club are in fact targeting the title in this first campaign.
Kevin Muscat has signed some important players for the club this season. This has contributed to their good run of form in the pre-season friendly matches. Ahead of the start of the new season in the second week of October, preparations are going on in good manner. After the final friendly match against Richmond, Muscat’s team will be taking on Bayswater City in the first round of the FFA Cup. This will be followed by the start of the Australian A-League with a home match against Western Sydney Wanderers.
“That’s an important game for us, we’re really looking forward to it. Pre-season traditionally in the A-League has been very long and pretty strenuous. Now we’ve got something to break it up. It’s an important competition for us. We’ve got high hopes. To be the first winners of the FFA Cup would be pretty special and that’s definitely our target. The goalkeeper that made the final save, Rani (Dowisha), he used to train with us. To see him pull that off was pretty special for us,” said the defender about the pre-season, FFA Cup, and the signings.
Melbourne Victory’s activity in the transfer market is not over yet and there could be at least two more signings.
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Mario Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola has rejected suggestions that he has held talks with Arsenal over a potential transfer of his client in the summer. Balotelli has been heavily linked with Arsenal in the last few weeks. This comes as a major surprise especially given that he moved to AC Milan only in 2012. He has been playing for the Italian outfit in excellent fashion even though his form has not helped them achieve good results. Milan will be without any form of European football for the upcoming season.
This will put a huge strain on the financial resources of the club in order to keep the current stars. As a result, there have been rumours that they would be prepared to sell Balotelli apart from allowing Kaka to leave the club on a free transfer. Both these moves will allow the club to significantly reduce the wage bill, as they have been cutting down on costs for the last few years. Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has been unwilling to put more money into the club. Balotelli recently had a terrible World Cup, which may prevent his chances of moving to another club.
However, there have been transfer rumours stating that Raiola met with Arsene Wenger in Brazil.
“I have not been in Brazil during the World Cup and I have not met with manager Arsene Wenger. It’s important for Balotelli to be valued by the club at which he plays. Only Milan can sell him and if they do not want him, they need to call me. I do not think there is a stronger striker in Italy than Balotelli,” said Balotelli’s agent. Despite the positive talk, the striker has been blamed for Italy’s early exit from the World Cup 2014. The team were knocked out at the group stages.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has stated that Mario Balotelli will be a man to watch when England come up against Italy in the opening group match. Balotelli is one of the leading strikers in the world, but he also has had an up-and-down time in England. He has been playing in Italy for the last two seasons after his spell at Manchester City came to an end. He is regarded as one of the enigmas of football. England manager Roy Hodgson has been pointing out to the threat from Andrea Pirlo from the centre of the park. Meanwhile, Wilshere says that the team should also be aware of Balotelli.
England start the campaign with this tough match followed by the match against Costa Rica. They end the group stages with match against Luis Suarez and Uruguay. Because of the tough group matches, it is considered that England will face a huge fight if they failed to get three points against Italy. Wilshere says that the presence of players like Joe Hart, who have played alongside Balotelli, will help the England team learn about the negative aspects of the 23-year-old. Wilshere could soon be playing along with Balotelli after it has emerged that Arsenal are looking to sign the Italian international.
“First and foremost, we have to worry about him as a player. He is a great player. We have seen that in the past. But we have got players who have played with him like Joe Hart, and we have defenders who have played against him in the Premier League. I don’t think that will be a problem,” said Wilshere. Heat is expected to be a major problem for the British. They will be playing their games in places like Manaus with temperatures expected to get about the 30°C mark.
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Mario Balotelli could be set for a sensational return to the Premier league after it emerged that both Arsenal and Liverpool are interested in signing the AC Milan striker. Balotelli had an up-and-down spell in the Premier league with Manchester city. Even though he lifted the league title with the club in 2012, it was also accompanied by several off the field troubles and he was a constant presence on the back pages of tabloids. This was seen as one of the reasons for City deciding to sell him to AC Milan for around £ 18 million.
In his two seasons with Milan, Balotelli has endured a frustrating campaign in which a lot has been expected of him and him only. Due to the sale of several star names over the last few years, Milan are no longer the force in the Italian Serie A that they once were. Much is expected of Balotelli to come up with the goals in order to help the club finish in the top three. Despite scoring more than 20 goals last season, the striker failed to secure Champions League football for the club.
Due to the financial constraints, Balotelli could be sold in the summer with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool interested in him. Both clubs are on the lookout for a high quality striker after promising campaigns in several respects. Liverpool will be returning to the Champions League after a four-year absence while Arsenal will be looking forward to build on the success following the FA Cup victory. This was the club’s first trophy in nine years, while Liverpool came close to winning the Premier league for the first time in their history.
Both clubs do not have much strength in depth apart from the first choice strikers and Balotelli could solve this problem.
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Mario Balotelli is known for his rebellious style not only in the pitch but mostly outside of it. The Italian forward is famous for letting it all out in the playing grounds an example of this can be exemplified back when he used to play for Inter Milan and he threw his jersey on to the ground.
A number of other controversial moments arrived not only in Italy but in England as well as he used to play for Manchester City and some issues continued rising but according to Clarence Seedorf, Balotelli is improving as a man and as a player.
“All credit to Balotelli after the Fiorentina game as he played at both ends of the pitch for 90 minutes. He behaved well with the referee as well – and that shows growth. If he continues like this, we’ll all be very happy. I think Mario has shown big improvements in the last game, both as a man and a player.” Seedorf stated.
Clarence Seedorf is the head coach of Ac.Milan as he took over the role of the club since Allegri was sacked a few months ago and even though the Dutchman still seems to be struggling trying to pick up positive results in Serie A, Balotelli has revealed that his position in the club is not in jeopardy and his teammates aren’t nervous despite the disastrous season which they are going through.
“I have not read the newspapers, but it is not that because you lose one or two games it becomes a matter of discussing someone. We are not nervous and no one fights in the dressing room. The group is fantastic and has always been united.”
“Certainly there was regret at the exit from the Champions League and it is bad to not make it into Europe for next year, but rumors of quarrels are rubbish.” Balotelli revealed.