Friday Kickoff: Mancini plays down Balotelli skirmish, Pato sold to Corinthians, and more

Friday Kickoff: Mancini plays down Balotelli skirmish, Pato sold to Corinthians, and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Mancini plays down Balotelli skirmish, Pato sold to Corinthians, and more

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

BY DAN KARELL

In the aftermath of yet another embarrassing off-the-field moment involving Mario Balotelli, manager Roberto Mancini, directly involved in the incident, has backed the young striker to stay in the Manchester City squad.

Pictures surfaced yesterday afternoon of an altercation between Mancini and Balotelli during the morning training. According to the reports, Balotelli was adjudged to have made a harsh tackle on teammate Scott Sinclair, prompting his boss Mancini to ask him to leave the pitch. When Balotelli refused, Mancini tried to forcibly remove him, with the manager admitting that he lost his temper.

Mancini did rule out Balotelli from starting this weekend’s FA Cup tie against Watford, as the temperamental striker is not fully fit from an injury.

Here are some other stories to get your Friday started:

PATO COMPLETES MOVE BACK HOME TO BRAZIL

After five and a half injury-riddled years with A.C. Milan in Serie A, Alexandre Pato has returned to his native Brazil in a €15 million transfer to join the current Club World Cup champions, Corinthians.

Pato moved to Milan in 2007 as a 17 year old, but missed significant time each season with a variety of muscle injuries. Still, when fit, he has shown for both club and country that he can be one of the best strikers in the world.

ROONEY TO SPEND FURTHER TWO WEEKS ON SIDELINES

Manchester United were dealt a blow today, as Wayne Rooney’s injury prognosis was worsened, and he is set to miss next weekend’s match against rivals Liverpool.

The striker, who injured his knee in training on Christmas Day, was expected to be back to full fitness by now. However, the injury has failed to heal properly, and United will be without the striker’s services until at least January 20, when they face Tottenham.

In the meantime, while Rooney has been on the training table, Javier Hernandez and Robin Van Persie have combined to score seven goals and lead the team to three wins.

TRANSFER WINDOW UPDATES

American-born Italian forward Giuseppe Rossi is reportedly nearing a transfer to Fiorentina. (REPORT)

Demba Ba signs a three-and-a-half-year deal with Chelsea, for a reported £7 million.

Mathieu Debuchy signs a five-and-a-half-year contract with Newcastle, for a reported £5 million.

Joe Cole signs a one-and-a-half-year contract with boyhood club West Ham, on a free transfer.

Tal Ben-Haim signs a six-month contract with former boss Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers, on a free transfer.

Arsenal’s want-away striker Marouane Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan until the end of the season. (REPORT)

Celtic FC are in negotiations with Standard Liege to add Israeli international defender Rami Gershon. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Should Manchester City sell Balotelli in January? See Pato’s return to Brazil helping his World Cup chances? Are there any transfers that have surprised you so far?

Share your thoughts below.

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