Tag Archives: francesco

Mario Balotelli won"t leave Manchester City – Roberto Mancini

Mario's going nowhere, the Sheikh loves him too much, insists City boss Mancini

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UPDATED:

10:47 GMT, 31 December 2012

Roberto Mancini insists Mario Balotelli will not be sold by Manchester City – and claims owner Sheikh Mansour loves the Italian firebrand.

The controversial striker has failed to impress for the Premier League champions this season – scoring just one league goal- and continues to be dogged by disciplinary problems.

But Mancini remains defiant in his support of Balotelli – but has warned him to clean up his act.

Joker of the pack: Mario Balotelli (centre) has disappointed this season

Joker of the pack: Mario Balotelli (centre) has disappointed this season

'I think Mario will stay but the future depends mostly on him,' he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

'Sheikh Mansour likes Balotelli because he recognises the talent and he exports the name of the City over the world.

'We need to consider that Mario was made as a major investment, and this is not a club that throws its capital through the window.'

Controversy: Balotelli stormed off after being replaced against Sunderland

Controversy: Balotelli stormed off after being replaced against Sunderland

Mancini admitted he has taken the 22-year-old to task in light of his performances on and off the field.

'The relationship between me and him is always good, even if one day he does something,' he added.

'I love him because for many years we live together. I've seen him grow. But the professional relationship is another thing and I've told Mario what I need from him.

Colourful: Italian Balotelli continues to make headlines off the pitch

Colourful: Italian Balotelli continues to make headlines off the pitch

'The time of cheap talk is over. Balotelli is 22 years old and now it's time to be professional. I ask from him seriousness and commitment in training, a more stable private life and correct behaviour on the pitch.

'[Roma forward Francesco] Totti is Mario's best example. If Francesco is able to have this continuity of performance at the highest level at the age of 36 years, it's because he has behaved as a professional.

'Mario now has returned to training and could be on the bench against Stoke. Otherwise, he could play against Watford in the FA Cup on January 5.'

Colin Montgomerie worries European stars" defection to PGA Tour could weaken Ryder Cup defence

Monty worries European stars' defection to PGA Tour could weaken Ryder Cup defence

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UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 18 December 2012

Colin Montgomerie says that steps need to be taken to encourage Europe's stars to play more in Europe.

Ten of September's successful Ryder Cup side – all bar Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari – will be members of the PGA Tour in America next season.

Montgomerie, whose induction next year into the World Golf Hall of Fame was announced today, is a member of the European Tour's tournament committee and said: 'It's very difficult and we have to sit down and try to address this.

Miracle at Medinah: Europe's victorious Ryder Cup stars celebrate in Chicago

Miracle at Medinah: Europe's victorious Ryder Cup stars celebrate in Chicago

'Sponsorship is getting harder and the first thing a sponsor asks is “who's playing”. He wants as many Ryder Cup players as possible.

'It's important for the future of European golf.'

Tom Watson spoke last week after being named as United States captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup about the edge Europe gains by staging the match on courses well-known to their players.

The 2014 match is at Gleneagles in Scotland, but although a European Tour event has been held there every year since 1999 it does not always attract the top names.

Honour: European Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie (right) was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Tuesday

Honour: Colin Montgomerie (right) is now a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame

This August, for example, the only members of Jose Maria Olazabal's side who played there – even though it was the final qualifying event – were Lawrie, Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Montgomerie led the side at Celtic Manor two years ago and admitted today he was disappointed that more of his side did not play the Wales Open on the course four months earlier. Only seven of the 12 were there.

'We need to get our team to Gleneagles. We have to have that advantage,' the Scot said. 'In 1997 our biggest advantage was Valderrama. The Americans had three days to prepare, we had 10 years.'

Mario Balotelli worth as much as the Mona Lisa, says agent

He's no oil painting but agent says Balotelli is worth as much as the Mona Lisa

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 5 December 2012

Mario Balotelli's agent has insisted that no Italian club can afford to buy the Manchester City striker because he 'costs as much as the Mona Lisa'.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to the San Siro and a return to Italy after slipping down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.

Familiar face: The Mona Lisa

How much would you pay Mario Balotelli

Spot the difference: Mario Balotelli's agent compared him to the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait
of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been
acclaimed as 'the best known, the most visited, the most written about,
the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.'

The
painting, thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of
Francesco del Giocondo, is in oil on a poplar panel, and is believed to
have been painted between 1503 and 1506.

It was acquired by King Francis
I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on
permanent display at the Muse du Louvre in Paris.

The ambiguity of the
subject's expression – frequently described as enigmatic, the
monumentality of the composition, the subtle modeling of forms and the
atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to
the continuing fascination and study of the work.

Manager Roberto Mancini prefers Carlos Tevez and Segio Aguero to the young Italy international.

Milan
president Silvio Berlusconi has previously suggested that their
interest in Balotelli is serious, claiming that signing him 'is not a
dream' with the January window around the corner.

But
Mino Raiola, Balotelli's agent and close advisor, told Sky Sport
Italia: 'Balotelli costs as much as the Mona Lisa. There are no teams in
Italy who could afford him.'

Balotelli
has only started eight games for the Barclays Premier League champions
this season but Raiola says the club are not willing to let him leave.

Raiola added: 'Manchester City don't want to sell Balotelli.'

City crashed out of Europe after losing to Borussia Dortmund in Germany in their final Champions League match, making it the worst European campaign by an English club in the history of the competition.

The face neighbours Manchester United in a huge derby clash at the Etihad this Sunday.

Rory McIlroy frustrated as Singapore Open suspended

Singapore Open cut to 54 holes after thunderstorms delay McIlroy's progress

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UPDATED:

10:26 GMT, 9 November 2012

The Barclays Singapore Open featuring world No 1 Rory McIlroy could be cut to 54 holes for the second year running after more thunderstorm delays at Sentosa on Friday.

Half the field have not even started their second rounds after two days of the 3.7million event and more rain is forecast for the weekend.

Thai golfer Chapchai Nirat and England's Simon Dyson top the leaderboard overnight, although there will be an instant change to that when play resumes as Dyson failed to par the 474-yard fifth – his 14th – just before the siren sounded and was left with a short putt for bogey.

No go: Rory McIlroy was stopped in his tracks at the Singapore Open

No go: Rory McIlroy was stopped in his tracks at the Singapore Open

Watching brief: Caroline Wozniacki keeps tabs on boyfriend McIlroy at the Singapore Open

Watching brief: Caroline Wozniacki keeps tabs on boyfriend McIlroy at the Singapore Open

That would drop him to five under par, one behind Nirat and alongside Dane Thomas Bjorn and Italians Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero. Bjorn is among those who have played only 18 holes so far.

McIlroy is down in joint 29th place on one under, but that was a distinct improvement on how he stood earlier in the day.

After first of all completing an opening 70, the 23-year-old Northern Irishman dropped three early strokes when he went out again soon afterwards.

Looking for something Rikard Karlberg searches for his ball during day two of the Singapore Open

Looking for something Rikard Karlberg searches for his ball during day two of the Singapore Open

At two over McIlroy was outside the predicted halfway cut mark at that point, but he then had three birdies in four holes around the turn.

The last two of those were the result of superb approaches to within three feet of the flag.

Phil Mickelson, three-time winner Adam Scott and Padraig Harrington did not make it onto the course like Bjorn, but at two over, level par and three over respectively they all have a lot of work to do on the resumption to climb into contention – especially if the tournament is shortened.

Leading light: Simon Dyson sits at the top of the leaderboard

Leading light: Simon Dyson sits at the top of the leaderboard

Dyson was a four-time winner in Asia earlier in his career, but has had a disappointing season. With a best finish of 10th at the Irish Open in July he has dropped from 28th in the world to 63rd.

A climb back into the top 50 by the end of the year, though, would secure him a third trip to the US Masters next April.

Nirat is ranked 631st, but was a winner on the European Tour in China five years ago.

Peter Hanson beats Rory McIlroy to win BMW Masters

McIlroy fails to catch Hanson as Swede edges out Ryder Cup team-mate in Shanghai

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UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 28 October 2012

Just a month after failing to win a point at the Ryder Cup – and being left on the sidelines for three of the five sessions – Peter Hanson had the sweetest win of his career on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Swede just held off world No 1 Rory McIlroy to take the BMW Masters title in Shanghai against a field that also included nine more of his European team-mates from Medinah.

With Luke Donald coming third and Ian Poulter fourth it was a week dominated by members of Jose Maria Olazabal's side, but Hanson was the one to come out on top.

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson

Main man: Peter Hanson beat Rory McIlroy by one shot to win the BMW Masters in Shanghai

BMW Masters in Shanghai

Click here for final standings

/10/28/article-2224291-15B99DBB000005DC-683_634x443.jpg” width=”634″ height=”443″ alt=”Better luck next time: Hanson (right) with McIlroy after the Swede won in Shanghai” class=”blkBorder” />

Better luck next time: Hanson (right) with McIlroy after the Swede won in Shanghai

Race to Dubai standings

1 Rory McIlroy 2,766,222
2 Peter Hanson 2,106,534
3 Justin Rose 2,044,670
4 Branden Grace 1,669,984
5 Louis Oosthuizen 1,532,375
6 Francesco Molinari 1,474,414
7 Graeme McDowell 1,452,423
8 Luke Donald 1,445,831
9 Ernie Els 1,426,399
10 Paul Lawrie 1,410,431

World No 25 Hanson's par save from 15 feet preserved the gap, but there was still a possibility of a play-off when Hanson's approach to the 471-yard last came down in rough above a bunker.

He thought he might be entitled to a free drop because of a plugged lie, but was refused it and after doing well to chip to 10 feet he breathed a sigh of relief when McIlroy's 15-foot birdie attempt just missed.

That left Hanson with two putts for his sixth European Tour win – the last came with a closing eagle in Holland last month – and he took them.

'Rory made a tremendous effort and put quite a bit of pressure on me – his second to the 15th was true class,' Hanson added.

'He gave me a bit of a cushion early on (McIlroy missed two four-foot par putts) and I was maybe a little too defensive at the end, but it all worked out.

'My short game used to be my weak part, but I've been working on it and my putting has really improved.'

Marching on: Hanson held his nerve on the final day to maintain his lead in Shanghai

Marching on: Hanson held his nerve on the final day to maintain his lead in Shanghai

In Chicago Hanson was angry to be left out all day Saturday and he said the following week that he might not be sending captain Olazabal 'that many Christmas cards'.

But the pair chatted last week and are back on good terms.

'I was a bit disappointed,' Hanson said, 'but there's no feeling of revenge or wanting to show everyone now. It's a team effort and we ended up winning it.'

McIlroy is staying in China, but only for a one-day head-to-head against Tiger Woods – joint fourth in Malaysia today after a closing 63.

The rest of the week is being spent with his tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Bulgaria – she is playing a tournament there – but he returns to Asia for the Singapore Open and his defence of the Hong Kong Open.

Those events will give the 23-year-old the opportunity to clinch the money list double before the race-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 22-25.

Not his day: McIlroy reacts after missing a put as he has to settle for second place

Not his day: McIlroy reacts after missing a put as he has to settle for second place

'I'm happy with how I played, but a little disappointed,' McIlroy said. 'I missed a few opportunities on the front nine and it was too little, too late.

'I wanted to make him work for it and it would have been nice to hole the putt on the last, but it wasn't to be and Peter deserved it.'

A closing birdie by Donald for a 66 enabled him to deny Poulter, who had a 65, a share of third place, while there were no fewer than nine of the Ryder Cup side in the top 15.

Justin Rose, now down to third on the 'Race to Dubai', tied for sixth, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell were joint 11th and Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts finished in joint 14th.

'It just shows we had a strong team,' Donald said.

Poulter added: “The board is full of Ryder Cup players, which you would expect.

'The guys are still on a high – and rightly so.'

Tiger Woods said SORRY to US rookies for Ryder Cup slump

Tiger haunted by Ryder Cup slump: Woods reveals he said SORRY to US rookies

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UPDATED:

18:52 GMT, 8 October 2012

Tiger Woods has confirmed that he apologised to the four rookies on the United States' Ryder Cup team for not contributing a single point in their devastating loss to Europe.

Woods, who was benched for the first time ever in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup at Medinah, lost all three of his matches with Steve Stricker before halving his singles with Francesco Molinari after Martin Kaymer's win over Stricker in the match ahead had ensured Europe retained the trophy.

Reports in the US said that Woods sat down with Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker and said sorry for not getting the points which would have given Davis Love's side an even bigger lead than the 10-6 advantage they took into the final day.

Glum: Tiger Woods speaks at a press conference ahead of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in Antalya

Glum: Tiger Woods speaks at a press conference ahead of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in Antalya

'I had an opportunity to earn three points in team sessions but I did not do that. It was tough,' said Woods, who has won 15 and lost 17 of his 35 cup matches.

'Stricks and I went out there and tried to earn points for the team and didn't do that and it was frustrating.

'We had a four-point lead and we went 0-3. If we could have earned a couple of points it would have been a pretty good lead going into Sunday's singles.'

Asked about the disappointment of suffering his sixth defeat in seven Ryder Cup appearances, Woods, added: 'It probably did not set in for a few days because I had two sick kids to take care of. I was focused on them.

Agony: Woods reflects on the US defeat after a remarkable European comeback at the Ryder Cup last month

Agony: Woods reflects on the US defeat after a remarkable European comeback at the Ryder Cup last month

'Then I started to talk to my friends, guys on the team, and once it started sinking in, the position we were in and what had transpired, it got a little tough for a couple of days.

'I texted Freddie (Couples, a vice-captain) quite a bit and Stricks as well. Then like anything it's a tournament loss and you have to move on to the next event. We lose a lot more than we win in this sport and you learn to move on.'

Woods was also asked if he would like to captain the US team in the future, the 36-year-old – speaking ahead of this week's Turkish Airlines World Golf Final – added: 'One day that would be fantastic.

'It would be a huge honour, hopefully it doesn't happen in the near future. I would like to be able to play for a lot more teams but certainly one day when my career is slowing down or it's over, it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side.'

Cristiano Ronaldo – the numbers

After back-to-back hat-tricks, hotshot Ronaldo now has Barcelona in his sights

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 5 October 2012

Since Cristiano Ronaldo made his Champions League debut, only Lionel Messi has scored more goals in the competition.

Most league goals since 2003-04

Lionel Messi 53
Cristiano Ronaldo 42
Didier Drogba 39
Raul 28
Karim Benzema 28
Kaka 27
Samuel Eto’o 26
Wayne Rooney 26
Ruud van Nistelrooy 26

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo has been in brilliant form - as always - this season

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo has been in brilliant form – as always – this season

Nobody in the top European leagues has scored more goals than Ronaldo domestically since he joined United in 2003.

Champions league goals since 2003-04

Cristiano Ronaldo 202
Lionel Messi 175
David Villa 165
Samuel Eto’o 157
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 145
Antonio Di Natale 142
Alberto Gilardino 140
Wayne Rooney 138
Francesco Totti 138
Fernando Torres 137

Full package: The Real Madrid man scores with both feet and even his head

Full package: The Real Madrid man scores with both feet and even his head

Ronaldo has scored 118 goals in 107 league games for Real Madrid, giving him a goals-per-game ratio of 1.1. In the Champions League, his goals-per-game record is 0.9.

24.38mph The top sprinting speed Ronaldo has recorded – pretty nippy, as Usain Bolt’s top speed is not a lot faster at 27.44.

Ryder Cup 2012: Jose Maria Olazabal won"t stay on as captain

That's it from me! Olazabal rules out taking another spell as Ryder Cup captain

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UPDATED:

11:10 GMT, 2 October 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal has ruled out captaining the European Ryder Cup team again.

There had been fresh calls for the popular Spaniard to take charge of the defence of the trophy at Gleneagles in 2014 after guiding Team Europe to victory in Chicago.

Paul McGinley, one of Olazabal's vice captains, is expected to get the nod for the battle at the Centenary Course in two years.

They're back: (From left) Nicolas Colsaerts, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Captain Jose Maria Olazabal, Francesco Molinari, Paul McGinley and Miguel Angel Jimenez pose with the trophy after landing at Heathrow

They're back: (From left) Nicolas Colsaerts, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Captain Jose Maria Olazabal, Francesco Molinari, Paul McGinley and Miguel Angel Jimenez pose with the trophy after landing at Heathrow

Thumbs up: Lee Westwood

Come here you: Jose Maria Olazabal and Lee Westwood

All smiles: Westwood gave his captain Olazabal a hug at the airport

Olazabal and members of his
victorious side touched down at Heathrow on Tuesday morning – tired from
travelling and celebrating long into the night but still beaming from
the Miracle at Medinah.

The narrow win over the Americans was celebrated in style on Sunday evening but it was back to business for Olazabal and Co.

While the likes of Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Luke Donald are based in the United States, other European Tour stars are back in action on home soil this week.

Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer are heading for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Thomas Bjrn, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimnez and McGinley, all vice captains to Olazabal, are also teeing it up in Scotland.

More to follow…

Belgian bomber: Colsaerts had a storming debut

Belgian bomber: Colsaerts had a storming debut

Natural leader: Team Europe skipper Olazabal

Natural leader: Team Europe skipper Olazabal

Tiger Woods: Salvaging draw wasn"t worth it

Dejected Woods admits turning his back on 18th green because tie felt worthless

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UPDATED:

07:45 GMT, 1 October 2012

Tiger Woods claimed neither he nor the United States team were interested salvaging a tie from the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah.

After Europe produced a stunning fightback to reach the 14 points they required to retain the cup near Chicago, Woods knew heading to the 18th tee he could no longer affect the trophy's destiny.

But by holding on to his one-hole lead in the final match, the former world No 1 could at least have ensured the scoreline finished 14-14.

No roar: Tiger Woods was left to rue a wasteful day by Team USA

No roar: Tiger Woods was left to rue a wasteful day by Team USA

He had the opportunity to do that but after missing a putt to beat Francesco Molinari, he then conceded the hole to the Italian and handed Europe an outright 14.5-13.5 win.

Woods said: 'It was already over. We came here as a team – this is a team event. And the cup was already been retained by Europe, so it was already over.

Yanks but no thanks: Woods concedes to Francesco Molinari

Yanks but no thanks: Woods concedes to Francesco Molinari

'You come here as a team and you win or
lose as a team, and it's pointless to even finish. So 18 was just, hey,
get this over with. Congratulations to the European team. They played
fantastic and they deserve the cup.'

That incident rounded off a dismal three days for Woods in which he failed to win a single match.

The 36-year-old 14-time major winner lost three times in partnership with Steve Stricker on Friday and Saturday and was even stood down for a match for the first time in his career.

Captain Davis Love faced further questions over his decision to rest Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, after the pair enjoyed three wins together, for the Saturday afternoon fourballs.

But over the course of the three days, Love felt he had done everything he could to secure victory – after all, his side had led 10-6 heading into the singles.

Love said: 'I wouldn't have done anything different, they played great. They did everything we asked them to do, and I can honestly say that I've been a part of a lot of teams and I've never seen a team of golfers like this, and I'm proud of them.

Just champion: Team Europe produced a stunning final day comeback

Just champion: Team Europe produced a stunning final day comeback

'It was certainly a difficult loss. I think any Ryder Cup loss is difficult. There are some guys on this team that have lost before and it's never fun any way it happens. This was certainly not what we expected.

'They got beat by some holed putts, chip-ins, some incredible shots, and some matches got flipped at the end on long putts and great saves by the other team.

'I have to congratulate Europe on the way they played, they played great.'

Ryder Cup 2012: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battle for the record nobody wants

Tiger and Phil battle for the record nobody wants on thrilling final day at Medinah

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 30 September 2012

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were battling over an unwelcome Ryder Cup record on Sunday – as the American who has suffered the most defeats in the event.

Woods suffered his third loss of the week in Saturday's fourballs alongside Steve Stricker, beaten on the 18th green by Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.

That was the former World No 1's 17th Ryder Cup loss and at the time matched the total of Mickelson, who famously lost twice on the opening day at Oakland Hills in 2004 when paired with Woods.

Handing it to him: Tiger Woods (left) conceded the final hole against Francesco Molinari

Handing it to him: Tiger Woods (left) conceded the final hole against Francesco Molinari

RYDER CUP 2012

Click here to read the full report from Medinah

The pair held the joint record overnight – until Mickelson was stunned on the final green by Justin Rose in the singles last night, making him top of the charts with 18 losses.

Woods has struggled here and his old coach Butch Harmon admits to being 'speechless' at some of the shots he played on Saturday.

And on Sunday, he was sent out last by captain Davis Love in the decisive singles facing Italian Francesco Molinari.

Woods had insisted he was 'absolutely' fine with Love's decision to leave him out on Saturday morning, adding: 'It was nice to be fresh, no doubt.

'This is a long grind to go all five. I've done it before and it's hard. I felt great and it was nice to kind of sleep in and get a little bit of rest.

The record nobody wants: Phil Mickelson (pictured) and Woods were battling to be the American with most losses in the Ryder Cup

The record nobody wants: Phil Mickelson (pictured) and Woods were battling to be the American with most losses in the Ryder Cup

'I watched the guys on TV and tried to get out here and watch them a little bit (but) captain says, “Hey, it's cold out here, stay inside, stay warm and be ready for your match”.'

'I put so much effort into that last match yesterday afternoon, I was pretty spent. Five matches in three days is a lot, and hey, I'm not young anymore. I'm one of the older guys.'

Asked about his form, Woods added: 'I've played well the last two afternoons and didn't get a point.

It's tough. 'I'm feeling good about my game but just, unfortunately, haven't got a point.

'I played terrible in the morning, really, really struggled. I turned around in the afternoon and we ran into a guy (Nicolas Colsaerts) who made more putts than anyone I've ever seen.'

Just didn't happen: Woods was left out on Saturday morning by Davis Love

Just didn't happen: Woods was left out on Saturday morning by Davis Love