The accusations came on a day when Inter Milan played down prospects of the striker leaving Liverpool to join them in January. Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti takes a different view to Taarabt – labelling Balotelli “a great player” – but the Italians believe recruiting the 24-year-old during the winter could be unrealistic. A return to the San Siro would see Balotelli reunited with Roberto Mancini, who coached Balotelli at Inter and Manchester City. Mancini, who took the reins at Inter last month for a second spell in charge, revealed after Monday’s 2-0 triumph at Chievo that he was keen to bolster his attack. “In certain roles in attack we are lacking,” Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “The club are aware of this but in January it will not be easy.” Balotelli came through the ranks at Inter before being sold to Manchester City in 2010. He joined Liverpool in a £16million move from AC Milan but as well as lacking form, he has missed a number of games with a groin injury and was recently charged by the Football Association over a controversial posting on Instagram. Balotelli has accepted the charge in relation to making racist and anti-Semitic comments on social media but has offered mitigation for his actions. He posted an image of computer game character Super Mario on Instagram which included the words ”jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew”. Balotelli has struggled since moving to Anfield at the end of the summer transfer window and Inter are keen to strengthen their attacking line. However Zanetti told Sky Italia: “A Balotelli return? We all know Mario is a great player but I think it’s difficult because he only just arrived at Liverpool. “In any case, after our game against Lazio (on December 21) we will hold meetings to see what we can do and what is needed in terms of the (transfer) market.” Balotelli has scored only two goals in his 14 appearances for Liverpool, and QPR playmaker Taarabt, who played with him while on loan at AC Milan last season, does not see the Italy international as a top quality forward. Speaking to Italian TV channel Sky Italia, Taarabt said: “Balotelli? Everyone told me he was amazing and I played with him and I can say he is strong but he didn’t seem to me as though he was world class. “He is an ordinary player, not a phenomenon.” Taarabt added: “He is someone who has a strong shot but he doesn’t play for the team. And if he does, he doesn’t score as is the case right now at Liverpool. “He’s had so many chances, from (Manchester) City to Milan, and he’s thrown them away.” Mario Balotelli has been branded “ordinary” and a player who has repeatedly wasted great career opportunities by former team-mate Adel Taarabt. Press Association
In just over a month, the fall athletic season will be ramping up.Find out which teams will look to build on last season’s successes, and which teams are looking to turn it around and get back to winning ways in 2015.Football Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldLast season, Wisconsin started 3-2 before rattling off seven-straight wins to win the Big Ten West Division and advance to the Big Ten Championship game. Despite a loss to Ohio State in the championship game, the Badgers fought through the departure of head coach Gary Andersen to win the Outback Bowl against Auburn with former head coach and current Athletics Director Barry Alvarez filling in as head coach.UW football coach Gary Andersen leaving for Oregon StateWisconsin football head coach Gary Andersen will be leaving the team for a head coaching position at Oregon State University, Read…With Andersen’s abrupt exit from Madison for Oregon State, the Badgers hired former University of Wisconsin player and coach Paul Chryst to be the 30th coach in program history.It’s official: Chryst hired as new Wisconsin head coachIt’s official: Paul Chryst will be coming back to the Wisconsin football team as its head coach. Chryst — a Read…In 2015, the Badgers start with one of college football’s powerhouses when they face head coach Nick Saban and Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Texas. After that, Wisconsin shouldn’t face a challenge until they open Big Ten play with back-to-back games against Iowa and Nebraska.Fifth-year senior Joel Stave will once again command the UW offense while junior running back Corey Clement has big shoes to fill after Heisman finalist and first round draft pick Melvin Gordon left for the NFL. With Chryst calling the plays, expect Wisconsin to stick to its traditional ground-and-pound offense with play-action passes that burn opposing defenses.For the Wisconsin defense, the Badgers return a plethora of starters from the 2014 squad that ranked in the top three in the Big Ten in most defensive categories. Fifth-year senior safety Michael Caputo was a second-team All-American last season while former quarterback-turned-safety Tanner McEvoy and cornerbacks Darius Hilary and Sojourn Shelton should anchor the Wisconsin secondary on defense.This season, riding behind Clement and the defense, Wisconsin should once again compete for a Big Ten West Division title and another shot at the Big Ten Championship game.Badgers punch ticket to Big Ten championship game with defeat of MinnesotaFor the third time in four years, the University of Wisconsin football team will head to Indianapolis for the Big Read…Men’s basketballThe Wisconsin men’s basketball team is coming off its best two seasons in program history. After a somewhat of a surprise trip to the Final Four in 2014, the Badgers marched their way back to the Final Four after winning the Big Ten regular season championship and the Big Ten tournament. For the first time in program history, UW earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and defeated Coastal Carolina, Oregon, North Carolina and Arizona to make it to the national semifinals in Indianapolis in 2015.Thirty-eight and no: Wisconsin moves on to national championship game with stunning win over undefeated KentuckyINDIANAPOLIS – The Wisconsin men’s basketball team was able to do something no other team has done all season. No Read…Perhaps the biggest win in program history came at the Final Four when Wisconsin knocked off then 38-0 Kentucky, ending their season, while sending the Badgers to the national championship game for the first time since 1941. Despite a loss to Duke in the national championship game, the Badgers finished the season an impressive 36-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in Big Ten play.Wisconsin was led by consensus National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky and second-team all-Big Ten selection Sam Dekker. Both made history when they became the first UW duo to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft.But this summer has brought about one significant change to the Wisconsin basketball program as longtime head coach Bo Ryan announced this upcoming season will be his final one. Ryan is Wisconsin’s all-time winningest coach with a 357-125 record at UW and has amassed more than 700 wins in his 30-plus years as a college basketball head coach.Men’s basketball: Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan to retire after 2015-16 seasonAfter 14 seasons of serving as the head coach for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, Bo Ryan has decided his Read…Ryan’s last season in Madison won’t be an easy one, however, as Wisconsin will have to replace its two star players in Kaminsky and Dekker along with Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser and Duje Dukan.Junior forward Nigel Hayes and junior guard Bronson Koenig will carry the load for Wisconsin this season and both could find themselves on the All-Big Ten first-team should they continue to improve. Freshman Ethan Happ vastly improved during his redshirt season and could be an emerging star at forward. Incoming freshman Brevin Pritzl should compete for playing time at guard with redshirt sophomore Jordan Hill and redshirt junior Zak Showalter, who all will play alongside Koenig in the backcourt.Women’s basketball Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldThe struggles for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team under head coach Bobbie Kelsey continued last season. Over the last four seasons, the Badgers haven’t won more than 12 games in a season and went just 9-20 in 2014-15 with a 5-13 Big Ten record. In three out of the past four seasons, Wisconsin has finished 11th in the conference.But Kelsey is back for another season and she, along with the rest of her team, have their sights set on higher aspirations for this upcoming season. They’ll be helped along by senior guard Nicole Bauman who averaged a team-high 15.3 points per game last season while shooting an outstanding 48.8 percent from 3-point range – ranking second in the country.Women’s basketball: Bauman breaks into leading roleThe Kohl Center is where it all started for Nicole Bauman. From her sophomore season in high school until the Read…Wisconsin also gets back a first-team All-Big Ten selection in Michala Johnson who took a medical redshirt last season after tearing her ACL in December. Despite being drafted in the WNBA draft by the New York Liberty, Johnson was granted a sixth year of eligibility and decided to return to Madison. In her last full season in 2013-14, Johnson averaged 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Tessa Cichy will be a key player for the Badgers once again this season as well alongside Bauman and Johnson.Volleyball Jenna Freeman/The Badger HeraldAn often overlooked UW athletics team, the Wisconsin women’s volleyball team consistently puts out title seasons. In 2013 they reached the national title game as the 12th-overall seed, before falling to Penn State. They then followed it up with another spectacular season in 2014.The Badgers finished regular season play strong with an impressive 19-game winning streak accompanied by their first Big Ten title since 2001 while ascending to No. 2 in the rankings.In the NCAA tournament, the Badgers won a thrilling five-set match over fellow Big Ten foe Ohio State in the Sweet 16 before falling to Penn State in the Elite Eight. After all was said and done, Wisconsin finished the season with a 30-3 overall record and an 18-1 Big Ten mark.Badger volleyball honored with numerous Big Ten AwardsThe Wisconsin volleyball team’s regular season success translated into several individual postseason awards, which were announced Tuesday morning. Sophomore setter Read…While they lost some key seniors from last year’s squad, the Badgers still return plenty of firepower and that starts with All-American and former Gatorade High School Player of the Year Lauren Carlini. The junior setter won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in 2013 and followed it up by winning Big Ten Player of the Year last season. Carlini is joined by sophomore outside hitter Kelli Bates who came onto the scene in a big way as a freshman in 2014. Bates averaged 2.85 kills per set and was named to the all-Big Ten freshman team.Wisconsin has turned out another top-tier recruiting class as well, which ranks in the top four in the country, according to PrepVolleyball.com. Six incoming freshman are ranked in the top 100 with two of those falling in the top 10.Women’s Soccer Herald File PhotoMaybe one of the best athletes at Wisconsin is found on the Wisconsin women’s soccer team. Rose Lavelle, a junior midfielder, is not only making an impact for the Badgers, but for the United States. Lavelle will be bringing national experience and talent back to Madison this season where she hopes to guide the Wisconsin women’s soccer team to an even better finish than last season.In 2014, the Badgers went 19-3-2 and 9-2-2 in Big Ten play. Their crowning moment was winning the Big Ten Tournament in double overtime on a corner kick from junior Kinley McNicoll. It was Wisconsin’s first Big Ten title since 2005 gave them a program record 18 wins in the season.McNicoll, who also played internationally for Canada, joins Lavelle again to form a formidable duo on the pitch for UW. While they lost some valuable seniors from last year’s unit, the 2015 women’s soccer team will be looking to provide even more firepower and an even better finish to the upcoming season.Badgers’ McNicoll, Lavelle transfer international experience back to Madison While most soccer fans spent the first half of the summer rooting for their favorite country in the FIFA World Read…Men’s soccer To say that the Wisconsin men’s soccer team was young last season would be an understatement. Head coach John Trask went through some growing pains with 12 true freshman on the 2014 squad that finished just 3-12-3 and 0-7-1 in Big Ten play. But, the team showed some signs of growth throughout the season, with three of their seven Big Ten losses coming in overtime including a heartbreaking double overtime loss to No. 12 Penn State toward the end of the season.Men’s soccer student section bolsters game atmosphere The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team took matters into its own hands to try to better engage with student Read…Despite the team’s struggles, a trio of freshman made their mark on the team and across the conference. Tom Barlow, Mark Segbers and Mike Catalano all landed on the all-Big Ten Freshman team. Wisconsin’s three selections to the team were the most of any school in the Big Ten. During the season, Segbers and Barlow teamed up to score 10 of Wisconsin’s 20 goals. All three players were also ranked among the top 100 freshmen in the country by Top Drawer Soccer. A promising underclassmen group of players will be joined by senior midfielder Drew Conner who Top Drawer Soccer ranked as the 73rd-best player in Division I soccer. Conner led the Badgers in minutes last season with 1,608 and scored two goals.With a mix of experience and talented youth, the future could be bright this season for this men’s soccer team that is hoping to improve upon a difficult 2014 season.
4 Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer Is Peter Crouch on his way Down Under? Hazard has made over 200 appearances for Chelsea since 2012 – but could he leave this summer? moving on 4 Latest transfer gossip on talkSPORT.com Cristiano Ronaldo will earn almost £73,000 a day at new club Juventus. His four-year contract in Turin on worth about £26million-per-year. (Daily Mirror)CONFIRMED: Ronaldo completes stunning £99million move from Real Madrid to JuventusBut the Portuguese superstar’s big-money move could see Juventus selling top-earning players to comply with Financial Fair Play rules.Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, 30, could leave the Italian champions to join Premier League side Chelsea. (Football Italia)And Liverpool are reportedly ready to bid £80m for 24-year-old Juve forward Paulo Dybala. (TyC Sports) 4 Here’s a round-up all the top transfer-related gossip and news from Wednesday’s newspapers and online… Tottenham and Roma have rekindled their interest in signing 21-year-old Brazilian winger Malcom from Bordeaux. (France Football)Chelsea winger Kenedy has completed a medical at Newcastle United and is set to re-join the Magpies on a season-long loan deal. (Sky Sports)Toon boss Rafael Benitez insists he is not willing to sell club captain Jamaal Lascelles, after the 24-year-old Englishman was linked with West Ham. (Newcastle Chronicle)Arsenal target Gelson Martins is close to joining Atletico Madrid, according to reports. The 23-year-old Portuguese winger, who is a free agent after terminating his contract at Sporting Lisbon, is expected to complete his move this week. (Record)Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina could join Boca Juniors in a £6m deal. (Daily Mirror) Liverpool have been linked with a shock move for Dybala 4 Chelsea have also opened new contract talks with midfielder N’Golo Kante. The 27-year-old Frenchman still has three years left on his current deal but the Blues are reportedly set to offer him £200,000-a-week to commit his long-term future. (Daily Express)Elsewhere, Liverpool are said to have opened talks over a deal for Stoke City forward Xherdan Shaqiri, who is understood to have a £13m release clause. (Daily Telegraph)And Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum could be set to leave Anfield, with the 27-year-old Dutchman reportedly given the green light to join Fenerbahce – after the Turkish club missed out on signing Jack Wilshere. (A Spor)Liverpool are also considering a move for Poland international Grzegorz Krychowiak, who spent last season on loan at West Brom from Paris Saint-Germain. (The Sun)Peter Crouch has been linked with a surprise move to Australia’s A-League. League chiefs want the former England striker to come to help build its profile, with Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory keen on the 37-year-old. (The Sun) LATEST getty images IN DEMAND REVEALED Newcastle and Wolves are also both interested in 25-yeaar-old Italian midfielder Stefano Sturaro. (Birmingham Mail)Meanwhile, Chelsea star Eden Hazard is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Ronaldo at Real Madrid- and the Belgian will leave Stamford Bridge this summer unless he sees signs of the club’s ambition in the transfer market. (Football London)Leicester are ready to offer England centre-back Harry Maguire a new contract to make him one of their highest-paid players, after turning heads with his brilliant performances at the World Cup. (Leicester Mercury)Chelsea and Real Madrid target Robert Lewandowski is reportedly ‘desperate’ to leave Bayern Munich this summer. (Daily Star)Maurizio Sarri has apparently told Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich he will only take over as manager if Eden Hazard and Willian remain at Stamford Bridge this summer. (Football.London) RANKED Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January targets Here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines:Adrian Durham predicts Harry Kane will replace Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid EXCLUSIVE: ‘I’ve managed a lot of Croatian players – they have this bond, a togetherness’ – England face tough test in World Cup semi-final, says Harry RedknappEXCLUSIVE: Harry Redknapp says Jack Wilshere will be a ‘big signing’ for West HamAdriy Yarmolenko’s agent is at West Ham’s training ground to finalise move from Broussia DortmundLille offer Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg a way outTransfer blow! Chelsea and Liverpool set to miss out of Marco AsensioLyon enter race to sign West Brom wantaway Nacer Chadli LIVING THE DREAM Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland targets