Tuesday Kickoff: Balotelli completes medical in Milan; Barca president backs Neymar to stay; and more

Tuesday Kickoff: Balotelli completes medical in Milan; Barca president backs Neymar to stay; and more

European Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: Balotelli completes medical in Milan; Barca president backs Neymar to stay; and more

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MarioBalotelliLiverpool1 (Getty)

 

By DAN KARELL

Mario Balotelli’s disastrous one-year spell with Liverpool looks to be over.

AC Milan confirmed on their website on Tuesday morning that the Italian international forward has passed his medical examination ahead of a reported season-long loan move to the San Siro.

“I am happy to be back,” Balotelli told reporters at Milan’s training facility. “I don’t have much to say because I just need to train and show what I can contribute. Physically I am ok but I need to train with the squad. I am very motivated but I need to work hard and talk less. I always hoped I would return to Milan, the club hold a special place in my heart. Do I want to end my career here? I just want to get back to work and have a good season, I have to work and that is it.”

Following last season’s dismal display, where he scored just one goal in the English Premier League and just four goals in all competitions, Balotelli was deemed surplus to requirements this summer as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers went out and signed forwards Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, and Christian Benteke.

Though he came up with Inter Milan, Balotelli spent a season and a half with AC Milan from 2012-2014, scoring 26 Serie A goals in 43 matches.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Tuesday:

BARTOMEU BACKS NEYMAR AT BARCELONA

Barcelona’s executives aren’t backing down to rumors of a Manchester United bid for star forward Neymar.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu backed the Brazilian to remain at the club, saying that Barcelona plan on offering Neymar a new deal.

“We don’t want him to leave,” Bartomeu told Radio Catalunya. “He’s young and we want him to retire here, at our club. He has to stay.

“We’ll talk about offering Neymar a new deal over the coming months. He has to stay, not just for three years, but for five or ten years.”

Multiple reports in England claim that Manchester United executive Ed Woodward was in Barcelona last week not just to negotiate a potential transfer for Pedro, who ended up at Chelsea, but to also negotiate a potential transfer for Neymar.

Last season, Neymar scored 39 goals in all competitions as Barcelona won the treble, taking home La Liga, the Copa Del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League.

QUICK KICKS

Chelsea are looking at potentially signing Argentine centerback Ezequiel Garay if their attempts to sign Everton’s John Stones are thwarted. (REPORT)

Gareth Southgate has named his England U-21 squad to face the U.S. U-23s and Norway U-21s, a squad that includes Liverpool’s Jordan Ibe, Arsenal’s Calum Chambers, and Tottenham’s Dele Alli. (REPORT)

FC Schalke are ever close to the return of defender Bendikt Howedes, who has ramped up his conditioning in training. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Glad to see Balotelli on his way out of Liverpool? Do you see him ever returning to the EPL? Do you see Neymar retiring at Barcelona?

Share your thoughts below.

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