Monday Kickoff: Totti hints at Juve bias; Wenger unlikely to be disciplined; and more

Monday Kickoff: Totti hints at Juve bias; Wenger unlikely to be disciplined; and more

European Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Totti hints at Juve bias; Wenger unlikely to be disciplined; and more

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Totti-USATodaySports

 

Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Reigning champions Juventus have spent years atop Serie A and have continued their dominance into their current campaign, in which they are unbeaten. However, one of the men often at the expense of their superiority, Francesco Totti, has hinted that their run is due to more than just pure talent.

After Sunday’s clash between Juventus and Roma, which Juventus won 3-2, Totti was quick to point out how he felt that the calls favored Juventus, just like how he feels they have in recent seasons.

“They should make a league just for them because in the end, come what may, they always win,” Totti said. “I’m feeling pretty down. We weren’t beaten by Juve. These things have been going on for years, and they continue to determine how seasons go.

“Three incidents determined this game, and all three of them were wrong. We can do what we want — in the end we’re only going to finish second. I don’t need to say any more otherwise I’ll get banned. But the pictures do all the talking.”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning:

WENGER UNLIKELY TO FACE DISCIPLINED FOR MOURINHO SHOVE

Despite being the aggressor in the shove-heard-round-the-world, Arsene Wenger is unlikely to see repercussions.

The Arsenal manager is reportedly unlikely to face disciplinary action for his actions during Sunday’s clash which Chelsea, which saw Wenger approach and shove opposing manager Jose Mourinho.

After the game, Wenger revealed that he didn’t regret his push of Mourinho, who he has feuded with throughout Mourinho’s tenures in the Premier League.

“What is to regret after that?” Wenger asked. “I wanted to go from A to B and somebody confronted me without any sign of welcome. B was get to (Alexis)Sanchez to see if he was injured. Was it a push? A little one. You can see when I really try to push.”

Meanwhile, Mourinho denied any wrongdoing in the incident while also stating that he hoped to just “forget” about the shove.

“It becomes heated because this is a big game, big clubs, big rivals, and important match for both teams. These conditions make a game of emotions,” he said. “I do so many wrong things in football. But not this time, because this time I was just in my technical area and it was not my problem. Game over. Story over.”

RODGERS “RELAXED” OVER STERLING CONTRACT NEOTIATIONS

Despite rumors that notorious spenders Real Madrid are looming overhead, Brendan Rodgers is confident that Raheem Sterling will remain at Anfield.

The 19-year-old England international’s agent has entered contract talks with Liverpool representatives, and Rodgers insists that the club remains “relaxed” when it comes to the negotiations.

“It is not a big issue for us,” Rodgers said.“(CEO) Ian Ayre has spoken to his representatives and is quite relaxed.The club is dealing with the agent so everything is calm.

“The boy is remarkably happy here and there are no secondary thoughts about anything else other than continuing to play for Liverpool and he still has a lot of growth and for that the best place for him to be is here. His representatives know that and we as a club respect that so that will get sorted out with time.”

BALOTELLI LEFT OFF ITALY ROSTER AGAIN

Currently in the midst of a tepid start with new club Liverpool, Mario Balotelli’s lack of goals have seemingly cost him on the international side.

The 24-year-old forward has been left off  Antonio Conte’s most recent Italy squad, as the national team prepares for Euro 2016 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Malta. Balotelli was also not included during September’s wins over Norway and the Netherlands.

Headlining the Azzurri’s attacking unit will be Southampton’s Graziano Pelle, who has been handed his first senior call up at the age of 29. Pelle, who joined Southampton this summer from Feyenoord, has scored five goals this season.

Here is the rest of Italy’s squad for the upcoming qualifiers:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)

Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (both Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter), Daniele Rugani (Empoli)

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Andrea Poli (Milan), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forwards: Mattia Destro (Roma), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Borussia Dortmund), Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Inter), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Sassuolo)

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QUICK KICKS

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to miss Thursday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Andorra after suffering a head injury over the weekend. (REPORT)

Argentina and Portugal have agreed to meet in a November friendly to take place in Manchester United’s Old Trafford. (REPORT)

England’s John Stones has been replaced by Callum Chambers for this week’s Euro 2016 qualifiers after suffering an ankle injury. (REPORT)

Former Brazil striker Romario has been elected to Brazilian senate. (REPORT)

Cardiff City are set to appoint Russell Slade as the club’s new manager. (REPORT)

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Do you agree with Totti’s assessment of Juventus? What do you think of Wenger’s confrontation with Mourinho? Where does Sterling rank among the game’s best young stars?

Share your thoughts below.

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