Thursday kickoff: Suarez issues partial apology, Balotelli out of derby and more

Thursday kickoff: Suarez issues partial apology, Balotelli out of derby and more

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Thursday kickoff: Suarez issues partial apology, Balotelli out of derby and more

Suarez getty

For the first time since his racial rowe with Patrice Evra caused a firestorm in England, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has issued an apology.

Well, sort of.

Suarez apologized to anyone who might have been offended by the use of the word "negro" but did not go as so far as to apologize directly to Evra.

"I never, ever used this word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologize for that," Suarez said in a statement released by the club.

The Uruguayan international continued to maintain that he did not appreciate the racially-charged meaning of the word and denied the FA's findings that he used it repeatedly to abuse Evra. Liverpool FC have decided not to appeal the eight-match ban and the $62,000 fine although Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish continues to make his disagreements with the punishment known.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday rolling.

BALOTELLI OUT OF MANCHESTER DERBY

If Manchester City are going to continue to make life miserable for their United counterparts, they'll have to do it without striker Mario Balotelli.

The always-entertaining Italian international is set to miss this weekend's FA Cup tie between the two clubs due to an ankle injury. Balotelli has missed City's last two league games against Sunderland and Liverpool. Roberto Mancini will also be without Yaya and Kolo Toure as they will be with the Ivory Coast getting ready for the African Cup of Nations.

SNEIJDER 90% CERTAIN OF STAYING AT INTER

Despite a renewed interest from Manchester United, Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder is not expecting a move during the January Transfer window. The Dutch international is 90% sure he'll stay at the San Siro until at least after this summer's European Championship but didn't rule out the possibility all together.

PSG TURN SIGHTS ON JAPANESE STAR HONDA

After missing out on long-time transfer target David Beckham, Paris St. Germain is looking to make a splash with the acquisition of Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow.

PSG has offered $17 million for the 25-year-old midfielder, an offer well bellow Moscow's current asking price of $32 million. However, Moscow may be tempted to sell the Japanese international as his contract expires a year from now. PSG has also made public its pursuit of Brazilian playmakers Kaka and Alexander Pato as a massive influx of cash from new owners looks to make the side one of the elites of Europe.

RONALDO DIAGNOSED WITH DENGUE FEVER

Former Brazilian international Ronaldo has been released from hospital following being diagnosed with Dengue fever. Ronaldo, 35, reportedly contracted the disease, which is carried by mosquito's, while vacationing in northern Brazil. Dengue rarely fatal and recovery usually lasts a few weeks.

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