Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis denies interest in Mario Balotelli

Italian club Napoli has turned down the rumors that they are going to buy Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli this winter. The rumor spread in the air after Balotelli disastrous show in the English premier league and later when Liverpool manager hinted his sale this January. But Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has clearly said they already have Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk’s Ivan Strinic along with Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini hence they don’t need to hire more especially Balotelli who has been infamous for non-soccer news. PSG’s Lavezzi is another player media recently linked with the side but De Laurentiis nulled his chances as well. Napoli has always been an underdog in Italian or European league yet their bosses never shy issuing confident media speeches sooner or later. But, for a change, Laurentiis accepted their mistake of issuing hyperbole statement in the last season, he said, “I made a mistake in preseason when I talked about the title. Napoli’s objective is to be competitive always. Sooner or later, we’ll win the scudetto, but it doesn’t happen just by signing one or two new players.

“You win when you have a united front formed of a team, the club and the fans. The scudetto will arrive when we are more mature.”

In recent years, like any other boss, he kept trying strengthening his club by various means including hiring a new coach Benitez who has had the rich experience of English premier league. What he said adding about his new and experienced coach, is, “I hope he wants to stay because that would give some continuity to our project, and it would be the best solution. We’ll know everything within the next two months, but one thing is certain: the international mentality which I wanted to offer by appointing Benitez will not change.

“We will carry on along this path, making it become our principle. We want to grow and remain competitive in the league, in the Europa League and in the Coppa Italia, having just celebrated winning the Supercoppa. We may be quite a way behind Juventus and Roma in the league, but we move forwards with faith; with the objective of not fearing anybody, like Benitez says. Napoli are the only Italian club to have won two trophies in the 2014 calendar year.”

Nonetheless, this is not a new thing where few problematic players are being linked with their home sides while current sides have not hinted clearly if they want to get rid of them. Anyways, Monday onward we’d have the clear picture of who is joining whom!

Gianluigi Buffon set to mark his 500th appearance for Juventus

It has ever been a dream for every player to earn a maximum number of caps playing for his club and this achievement often stands him in line with legendary players who have proved their class in the past. Italian soccer is something that is known for its longest running history and some of biggest stars of the game. Gianluigi Buffon, the 36-year-old legendry Juventus goalie, is going to name himself among some all-time most played players in national history with his 500th appearance for the Bianconeri against Genoa this Wednesday. On this occasion, he is going to wear a captain’s armband emblazoned with the No 500 to mark the landmark match. The feat is significant since only six players have played more games than him for any club in Italian history. While Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi, Javier Zanetti, and Giuseppe have all retired, Francesco Totti is still playing for Roma. Today, when not a single player can confirm his inclusion in the final eleven, Buffon has been playing as the number one goal post holder since more than a decade now. Moreover, he has also been the first choice for national duty along with serving Vecchia Signora.

If we look at his achievements playing for the side, Juventus has won five Serie A titles including three that happened consecutively. Moreover, he has also been the IFFHS Goalie of the year for four times along with being named as the goalkeeper of the decade in 2012. This is just a small list of his feats he achieved playing for the Italian side since 2001 when he was the most expensive goalkeeper in the history with a £38million price tag. Like any proud coach, Massimiliano Allegri talked about his goalie’s upcoming feat during a news conference where he said, “It’s a goal that very few get to realize. Gigi deserves it and I think he still has a lot more to give because he’s got the enthusiasm of a young boy with the serenity and wisdom of a veteran. He’s a veteran in football terms, but still young in life. Let’s just see if I name him in the team.

“It’s an added bonus to have him in the side. Also in terms of his professionalism in the dressing room, it’s great for the younger players to have people like him, Barzagli, Chiellini and Pirlo around — they are an example for anybody who is new here.”

AC Milan’s Michael Essien nulls reports of his Ebola virus infection

Would you believe if I say a player is infected with Ebola virus especially if we are in the beginning of a season? Yes? Of course, coz we all have become so depended over media reports that we don’t even think twice before believing over the genuineness of anything being flashed by the media channels. Last night could be the most dramatic one for the Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien who plays for AC Milan as he found himself in a unique situation where chief medical officer of the club himself asked him if he is infected by Ebola. First, Essien laughed over the news and then he and club both had to issue the denial over the false stories being run by a group of media channels who just trying to gain publicity out of nothing. In fact, 31-year-old became so upset with the news that he even threatened to sue the media group who continued spreading the rumors without having enough supporting evidence.

Explaining the whole incident, infamously known box-to-box midfielder said, “It was Sunday night and I was at home in the best possible situation — relaxing on the couch, watching English Sky Sports. I was in my element. The phone rang and it was Dr Tavana. I thought ‘what does he want at this time?’ I replied and he says ‘there’s somebody on the internet saying that you’ve got Ebola. It’s not true, is it?’

“I burst out laughing, and he was laughing with me. I told him I’m as fit as a fiddle. Five minutes later, our head press officer Riccardo Coli calls me saying:’ ‘Somebody’s spreading a comment from me that we’re stunned by your illness, but obviously it’s all fake.’

“I was still laughing and he sent me the link where these rumours were and that was it. Only then, the following morning while I was out like a light sleeping, I got a call from my mum in Ghana, worried to death, and she asked me how I was.”

Since, it has now been confirmed as well by the insiders that it was just a joke nothing else, but what would happen to the player who has been dragged into unnecessary controversy especially in the beginning of the season. Midfielder has confirmed to have been in touch with his legal experts to discuss if this is the right time to drag all the responsible into court.

Massimo Allegri replaces Antonio Conte at Juventus

Italian club Juventus appoints the new coach Massimo Allegri within 24 hours of resignation of former Antonio Conte who got the fame for his unique style of defense with an unusual 3-5-2 formation. He has been one of the most decorated player and mentor for Italian club with so many significant feats into his name, He joined the Serie A side in 2011 on a four-year contract which was scheduled to be expired in 2015 but he decided to part his ways earlier. Under his regime, Juventus won three back to back domestic league titles comprehensively. Though, no apparent reason for his early resignation has been informed by the club, but rumors are that he was unhappy with the way bosses had been skeptical to invest more on new players – something that he wanted. Initially, two names were in the circulation to fill his shoes including Former AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Mancini, but Allegri has reportedly signed the deal with Italian side.

It was rather a setback for the team to lose their star performer; even president Andrea Agnelli expressed his grief losing their key mentor, he said via a site post, “I think about the three years we spent together, the three years in which we rewrote this club’s history: three Scudetti in a row, two Italian Super Cups, and perhaps more importantly a period of exponential growth.

“Yet in the face of sentiment and personal feelings even a president needs to take a step back. Barely two months have passed since our last major success and Juventus must continue on its path.”

Former Milan coach Allegri, who replaced him at Zebre, is also happy to join the Italian side; he shared his experience in a news conference at Turin where he said, “It’s an honour for me.

“It was a bolt from the blue when I got the call yesterday asking if I wanted to coach Juve. I’m delighted. I know how important it is to coach Juventus, a club with history and tradition. Now I’m here to try to contribute to this club continuing winning.”

Though, he understands there is a big risk in replacing someone like Conte, yet he is confident he can satisfy fans to the core with his promising start in the next domestic league. His first challenge would be to harmonize relations with Andrea Pirlo who left Milan three years ago for some differences with him. However, refusing any difference among them he added, “I’ve got a great relationship with Andrea. I’m lucky to be reunited with Andrea. I’ve never doubted his quality because, if I did, people would say I’m crazy.”

Balotelli talks about growing racism in Italy

Whenever we talk about racism and its growing impact in the world of soccer, few names came to our mind instantly who has apparently been the main target of discriminating peoples and Italian striker Mario Balotelli is undoubtedly one of them. The highly controversial Milan forward is often found stuck with a controversy: sometime it is his own made while some time it is because of his color. He, now, talks about how he is being taken on the hit list by his own countrymen who claim to be the Italian fans and even added that if he would have been a white, there would have been lot more sympathy towards him and his game. Actually, whatever he is saying right now is nothing new, he always says these words whenever is subjected to any racial attack, even in the last month when he was racially abused, he denied off making it a big headline citing it has become a day to day routine for him. Now, ahead of the world cup, he has expressed his views about how discrimination has prevailed in his own State and asks how they can expect other nations to treat players equally irrespective of their color. Notably, this 23-year-old dramatic forward has been in a good form since he returned from England last year, in fact, on his arrival to hometown he criticized whole English atmosphere and held it responsible for his bad show in and outside of the ground over there and now he has started repeating the same about his own nation.

In his recent interview to a sports magazine, he expressed his feelings about the culture in Italy. He said, “They aren’t used to seeing people who are different, not white, who act not as rebels but normally. I think what the ignorant people don’t like is that people who are different are allowed to act that way. These stupid people, they get angry with me, they say horrible things, but I haven’t done anything different from other people.

“I have made mistakes, like everyone does, and I have always paid for my mistakes. I think that if I was white maybe some people would still find me irritating or annoying but it wouldn’t be the same. Absolutely not. Jealousy is a horrible thing, but when this jealousy is towards people who are different from the majority, and who maybe also have more than you, then it becomes anger, it becomes rage, and that’s the overt racism.”

This could also be his attempt to grasp the headlines ahead of an important international event, let’s see how he proves his critics wrong and performs differently in the Brazilian tourney!