Tag Archives: pecking

Lewis Hamilton has played down former team-mate Jenson Button"s title chances

Forget Button, Alonso is the one I really have to beat: Hamilton sets his sights on driving back to the top with Mercedes

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The edge: Damon Hill believes Fernando Alonso will win the title ahead of Sebastian Vettel

WHAT'S NEW THE TYRES

Pirelli have been instructed to supply tyres that will degrade faster. The subtle changes are designed to make them harder to manage by drivers, leading to more pit-stops and greater excitement. During winter testing the paddock was bewildered by the rate of tyre wear and this threatens to be significant in the early races. Speed may have to be sacrificed so tyres last longer.

To witness his victory in atrocious conditions in the final race of last season in Brazil — his 15th victory — was to see the baton being passed from Hamilton to Button inside the team.

‘It’s the right place for me to be for the long term,’ said Button, 33. ‘Some people have left because they feel there is another challenge or something missing from their position.

‘There is still so much to achieve here. When we had the launch of our 2013 car, it was amazing to see cars representing 50 years of McLaren brought out; to look at the team’s history and the championships won. We really are a spectacular team.

‘I want to add to that history; not just this year, but for the coming years.’ Button is at his most dangerous in Melbourne, having won three of the past four Australian Grands Prix, although where McLaren’s performance is in relation to Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus, or, for that matter, Mercedes is a mystery — 12 days of inconclusive winter testing offered fluctuating evidence of the pecking order we can expect Down Under.

‘It’s been an extremely hard-to-read winter,’ said Button. ‘Varying fuel loads and levels of tyre degradation mean it’s hard to predict accurately who will arrive in Australia with the best-sorted car. But I love the place.’

Danger: Vettel is chasing his fourth World Championship

Danger: Vettel is chasing his fourth World Championship

WHAT'S NEW THE CIRCUITS

Bernie Ecclestone had hoped for a new race in New Jersey this year to replace Valencia in June but that hit money problems. There is a vacant date, which the underwhelming circuit in Turkey had hoped to fill. And if Portugal and Austria don’t get it, Europe’s weakening status in Formula One will be confirmed with just seven races this season — the fewest since 1963.

Hamilton has not taken a backward glance since he took the gamble last autumn of tying his future to Mercedes in exchange for a three-year contract worth 60million, with the freedom for his management company, XIX Entertainment, to broaden his commercial portfolio.

‘It needs to be made clear that it was more lucrative [in salary] to stay with McLaren,’ insisted Hamilton.

His motivation in moving from McLaren, where he could expect to challenge for the championship this season, is governed by an ambition to replicate what Michael Schumacher achieved, year after year, with Ferrari and what Vettel is accomplishing with his dominance at Red Bull. At McLaren, the hall of fame is inhabited by the ghost of Ayrton Senna.

At 28, Hamilton is arriving at his peak years with 21 victories already in a career that has never lacked controversy on the track, or off it. Perhaps he has never driven better than last year. ‘You want to be the one,’ he told a small gathering at the BRDC Clubhouse at Silverstone.

No 4: Max Chilton becomes the fourth British driver in F1

No 4: Max Chilton becomes the fourth British driver in F1

WHAT'S NEW THE DRIVERS

Max Chilton joins Lewis Hamilton (now with Mercedes on a 60million deal), Jenson Button and Paul di Resta as the fourth British driver in the championship after being fast-tracked by Marussia.

Chilton, 21, benefits from having AON insurance vice-chairman Grahame Chilton as his father. He is worth 93m and owns the Carlin Motorsport team, where Chilton raced in GP2.

An F1 seat for this season reportedly costs 1.8m but Chilton denies he is a spoilt rich kid. ‘No team are going to let you behind the wheel if you’re not up to it,’ he says. Even so, Pastor Maldonado contributes 29m to the williams team budget through sponsorship from Venezuela’s state oil company, and Williams’ newest driver, 21-year-old Valtteri Bottas, from Finland, found the budget to secure the seat from Bruno Senna.

Chilton will be joined at Marussia by Frenchman Jules Bianchi after the team’s first choice, Luiz Riaza, failed to deliver promised funding.

Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) and Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) have also paid for their seats, Which means five of the 22 drivers next week will be making their Formula One debut.
Susie Wolff, wife of McLaren shareholder and Mercedes director Toto Wolff, is McLaren’s development driver, the second woman recently in F1 after Marussia’s Maria de Villota, who lost an eye in a test drive last year.

‘I was the one for a short period of time, as the youngest world champion, then I was toppled by Vettel. Fernando had his success. I expect myself to win.

'I expect myself to excel. Ultimately, I want to achieve greatness. I want to prove my abilities year after year. Michael is seen as an all-time great, Seb is, too. I want to be seen as great as well.’

In winter testing, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have shown that Mercedes have made a startling improvement in performance after winning just one grand prix in the past three years.

‘I’m 100 per cent confident and happy with the decision that I made — and keeping myself out of trouble!’ said Hamilton.

‘The more time I spend at the factory the more excited I become. It’s just a beautiful place to be and I’m happier with the environment I’m in. I don’t have anything negative to say about McLaren — I was lucky to be given the opportunity by the team to get into Formula One.

‘Had I stayed I was guaranteed to be competitive.

'Yet I’m not looking to get one over McLaren. I know that I have gone to a team who have been unable to compete with the car I had last year — at some races, there was a deficit in qualifying of 1.9sec from Mercedes to McLaren — but we all have a hunger to change. I think Mercedes will impress this year.’

Hamilton will be driven to prove that he was correct to free himself from McLaren, where the management structure made him feel claustrophobic, to fulfil a search for ultimate greatness.

But with a nudge to his growing maturity, Hamilton said: ‘When I look at it sensibly, I realise I have quite a lot of time left.’

Zlatan Ibrahimovic compares himself to Muhammed Ali the greatest

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his name's Ibrahimovic and he scores for PSG… Zlatan likens himself to legend Ali

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

10:08 GMT, 20 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 20 February 2013

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has compared himself to boxing legend Muhammed Ali as ‘the greatest’ – but the Paris-Saint Germain striker admits he is behind the former world champion in the pecking order.

The Sweden striker, who has linked up with David Beckham after the Englishman’s move from LA Galaxy to PSG, has been in blistering form this season with 21 goals in 22 Ligue 1 starts.

Never known for his modesty, Ibrahimovic used his form to joke about his position in the sporting Hall of fame, which he says is one behind Ali – seen by many as greatest sportsman of all time.

The Greatest Ibrahimovic (above) holds his arms aloft just like former heavyweight champion Ali (below)

The Greatest Ibrahimovic (above) holds his arms aloft just like former heavyweight champion Ali (below)

Ali, 1972

‘I am the greatest!’ he said to 11Freunde.

‘Wait, is that even possible All right, then I’m the greatest behind Ali!’

Ibrahimovic also hinted a fiery reunion with former boss Pep Guardiola could be on the cards, saying he would be open to a move to Bayern Munich.

Guardiola is joining the Bundesliga leaders at in the summer and signed Ibrahimovic for Barcelona in 2009, but the striker left after just one season amid rumours of a bust-up with the Catalan coach.

Future team-mates Ibrahimovic hinted he would be open to a move to Bayern Munich, celebrating Thomas Muller's (centre) goal against Arsenal last night, with former boss Pep Guardiola taking over in the summer

Future team-mates Ibrahimovic hinted he would be open to a move to Bayern Munich, celebrating Thomas Muller's (centre) goal against Arsenal last night, with former boss Pep Guardiola taking over in the summer

Reunion: But Ibrahimovic (right) and Guardiola (left) fell out during the striker's time at Barcelona

Reunion: But Ibrahimovic (right) and Guardiola (left) fell out during the striker's time at Barcelona

However, Ibrahimovic said the idea of playing for the Bavarian giants, who lead Arsenal 3-1 in their Champions League last-16 tie, is one that interests him.

‘The Bundesliga is certainly a league that attracts me. One day, maybe I will go there, I still have a little time left in my career,’ he said.

‘If I chose to go to Germany, it would have to be Bayern Munich.

‘For me they are one of the top five clubs in the world.’

AJAX Vs RODA JC KERKRADE... Ajax's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his team's winner against Roda JC Kerkrade.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic...Juventus' Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden

Football: Euro 2004 Quarter-final: Sweden 0 Holland 0

Well-travelled: Ibrahimovic has also played in Holland (left), Italy (centre) and his native Sweden (right)

Any move to Germany would represent
the sixth country the striker has plied his trade in, which Ibrahimovic
believes has made him a better person.

He
said: ‘I’ve lived in five countries – Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Spain
and now France. I have learned to get to know new people and cultures.

‘It has certainly made me more mature.’

Bebe leaves Manchester United for Rio Ave loan deal

Manchester United's 7.4m flop Bebe heads for exit again with loan at Rio Ave

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UPDATED:

12:58 GMT, 27 December 2012

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Portuguese side Rio Ave have sealed a loan deal for Manchester United misfit Bebe.

The 22-year-old striker, who joined United for 7.4m, had an unsuccessful spell on loan at Besiktas last season.

Rio Ave are fifth but 14 points behind leaders Benfica.

Bebe joined Manchester United from Portuguese side Vit Guimaraes in 2010 and looks set for a return to his homeland.

The 22-year-old has found it hard to get a look in this season with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and new-signing Robin van Persie all ahead of him in the pecking order.

Bebe of Manchester United set for Rio Ave loan deal

Manchester United misfit Bebe set for Rio Ave loan deal

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UPDATED:

20:28 GMT, 26 December 2012

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Portuguese side Rio Ave are confident of tying up a loan deal for Manchester United misfit Bebe.

The 22-year-old striker, who joined United for 7.4m, had an unsuccessful spell on loan at Besiktas last season.

Rio Ave president Antonio Silva Campos said: ‘He is one of the players who should be just hours away from joining but there are still some details left to address. His signing could be announced very shortly.’

Rio Ave are fifth but 14 points behind leaders Benfica.

Bebe joined Manchester United from Portuguese side Vit Guimaraes in 2010 and looks set for a return to his homeland.

The 22-year-old has found it hard to get a look in this season with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and new-signing Robin van Persie all ahead of him in the pecking order.

Arsenal target Barcelona outcast Dani Alves to replace Bacary Sagna

Wenger targets Barca outcast Alves to kick off Arsenal spree as Sagna heads for exit door

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UPDATED:

10:32 GMT, 18 December 2012

Arsene Wenger is eyeing up a transfer
window swoop for Barcelona's out-of-favour right-back Dani Alves.

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has
often favoured either Adriano Correia or Martin Montoya in the role this
season, pushing Alves down the pecking order.

Out of favour: Dani Alves (R) has fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona

Out of favour: Dani Alves (R) has fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona

With the Catalans nine points clear at the top of La Liga, Vilanova is unlikely to change his winning set-up and the situation has put Wenger on alert, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

The experienced 29-year-old Brazilian, who has won three league titles and two European Cups at Barcelona, could replace contract rebel Bacary Sagna, who has been linked with a 10m move to Paris St German.

The French right-back does not want to sign the Gunners' offer of a one-year extension to his contract, which runs out in 2014.

Contract rebel: Bacary Sagna has failed to sign a new deal

Contract rebel: Bacary Sagna has failed to sign a new deal

Mario Balotelli wants to stay at Manchester City

Mario's going nowhere! Balotelli wants to stay at City despite Mancini lining up 46m bid for Falcao

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 13 November 2012

Mario Balotelli's agent has claimed the controversial striker wants to see out his contract at Manchester City, despite recent troubles that has seen manager Roberto Mancini leave him out of the matchday squad.

Mino Raiola, agent and close adviser to the 22-year-old Italy striker, said that Balotelli is determined to stay at the club until his contract expires in June 2015 and re-establish himself in the first team.

City manager Mancini rejected a 40million bid from Paris Saint-German this summer but has become increasingly frustrated by his performances and work ethic in training and AC Milan are reported to be ready to offer Balotelli a return to Italy in January.

Staying power: Mario Balotelli wants to see out the remainder of his contract at Manchester City, according to his agent

Staying power: Mario Balotelli wants to see out the remainder of his contract at Manchester City, according to his agent

But his agent said: 'There’s no Italy and no plans to go there. He’ll work until the end of his contract. He doesn’t want to leave.'

Mancini dropped Balotelli from the matchday squad altogether before City’s last-minute 2-1 victory over Tottenham and Raiola added: 'There’s no player happy with not playing in a game but he accepts it.

'It’s all part of the game. It doesn’t mean he wants to leave Manchester.'

The emergence of Edin Dzeko as a super sub at the Etihad has pushed Balotelli down the pecking order at the club.

The Italian is yet to score in the Premier League for City in this campaign, and his only goal in open play came in a defeat by Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup.

But it is understood that Mancini wants to see a dramatic improvement from the striker whose impact on the pitch – just two goals in 13 appearances this season – no longer justifies the distraction he causes.

Balotelli was spotted partying by City fans the night before the Spurs game, reports The Sun.

He was seen entering the Panacea Restaurant and Bar in Alderley Edge at 1am — with City kicking off at 1.30pm against Spurs that afternoon.

Balotelli had already been axed from the City squad the previous day and told he was not required at the team hotel that night.

Although Balotelli had not officially broken any rules by being out as he was not in the squad, the latest indiscretion has not gone down well.

New trim: Balotelli showed off his new haircut during Italy's training session on Monday

New trim: Balotelli showed off his new haircut during Italy's training session on Monday

Not needed: The Italian striker didn't even make Roberto Mancini's bench for City's 2-1 win over Tottenham

Not needed: The Italian striker didn't even make Roberto Mancini's bench for City's 2-1 win over Tottenham

City's new director of football Txiki Begiristain is believed to be open to selling Balotelli, and has told Mancini that he must offload players before adding to his squad in January.

Mancini wants to sign Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao and has reportedly already met the player's representative, Jorge Mendes, to discuss a 46m bid.

The problem could be finding any takers for a player who would cost in the region of 20million and earns nearly 100,000-a-week.

Both Milan clubs are interested in taking Balotelli back to Italy, and the player is keen to be nearer his hometown of Brescia with girlfriend Raffaella Fico expected to give birth to their first child over Christmas.

However, it is unlikely that AC Milan could afford him and they are not interested in any swap deal involving their rising star Stephan El Shaarawy.

Inter, who sold Balotelli to City for 24m in the summer of 2010, are a more realistic option but would be unlikely to take him in January.

They already have a problem player in Antonio Cassano and are concerned about the effect signing Balotelli in mid-season would have on their dressing-room.

Wanted man: Roberto Mancini has been told he will have to raise the 46million to buy Radamel Falcao

Wanted man: Roberto Mancini has been told he will have to raise the 46million to buy Radamel Falcao

No joy: Balotelli (left) appeared as a substitute for City in their 2-2 draw against Ajax and had a penalty claim turned down

No joy: Balotelli (left) appeared as a substitute for City in their 2-2 draw against Ajax and had a penalty claim turned down

Paris Saint-Germain, who had a bid rejected in the summer, may revive their interest but the player is known to prefer Italy.

He still hopes to salvage his City career despite a demotion to fourth-choice striker behind Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Dzeko.

In an interview with Time Magazine earlier this month, Balotelli once again spoke of his special relationship with Mancini who brought him through the ranks at Inter.

'My relationship with Mancini is really important,' he said. 'He's known me since I was young and he's like a father to me.

'I used to play with the young children at Inter Milan, so I know him very well and I can tell him anything.' City won in Balotelli's absence on Sunday with Dzeko's late strike clinching a 2-1 comeback victory over Spurs.

Frustrated: Mancini dropped Balotelli after the striker was reportedly out late on Saturday evening

Frustrated: Mancini dropped Balotelli after the striker was reportedly out late on Saturday evening

Goalkeeper Joe Hart believes it was the perfect riposte to critics who claim that City are divided and lack the togetherness to retain their Premier League title.

'The spirit has never been in question,' said Hart. 'We have that and we have quality. Those two combined makes us the team we are.

'It's not a quality we've developed. It's just instilled in the people. It's a group of winners.

Twenty players who play to win – we're lucky with that. We don't turn up to tick boxes or make people happy, we turn up to win.

'We showed why we are champions and hopefully we will be again.'

Leeds boss Neil Warnock promised cash for January spree … And top priority is El Hadji Diouf

Exclusive: Leeds boss Warnock promised cash for January spree … And top priority is king of bling Diouf
GFH in advanced talks to complete Elland Road takeoverNew owners in hurry to restore Leeds to Barclays Premier League
Manager assured he can have his pick of January transfer targetsWarnock to secure El Hadji Diouf on a permanent deal

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UPDATED:

17:07 GMT, 1 November 2012

WHO DO LEEDS WANT

FRAIZER CAMPBELL – unsettled after falling behind Steven Fletcher in the pecking order at Sunderland and out of contract in the summer.

MATT PHILLIPS – Blackpool flyer has the pace on the flanks Warnock is looking for and scores goals. Wanted by Southampton in summer.

CHRISTOPHE BERRA – Warnock wants an experienced centre-back, and Berra could fit the bill after asking for a transfer at Wolves.

Leeds manager Neil Warnock will be handed funds for a January spending spree when the club's new owners GFH Capital take the reins.

The Bahrain-based investment bank have provided Leeds chairman Ken Bates with the necessary proof of funds and are locked in advance talks aimed at concluding a transaction that was first mooted in May.

In a development that will allay any misgivings among Leeds supporters, Sportsmail has learnt that they have also provided details of separate funds that have been earmarked for urgently-needed new signings.

Enlarge

El Hadji Diouf and his 70,000 chrome Cadillac Escalade 4x4

The star and his car: El Hadji Diouf and his 70,000 chrome Cadillac Escalade 4×4 in Manchester yesterday. Leeds boss Neil Warnock has been promised the funds to sign Diouf on a permanent deal

Glittering performance: Diouf can expect an increase to his 5,000-a-week Leeds salary

Glittering performance: Diouf can expect an increase to his 5,000-a-week Leeds salary

Leeds manager Neil Warnock can go shopping in January

Pocketing the cash: Leeds manager Neil Warnock can go shopping in January

Though the exact amount remains a closely-guarded secret, for fear of inflating prices, Warnock has been assured he can have the pick of his New Year transfer targets.

In a show of faith based on his track record for taking teams up from the Championship, he has been told no reasonable request for a January signing will be turned down.

The prospective owners are in a hurry to restore Leeds to their former Barclays Premier League status and believe Warnock can deliver their prime objective this season, given funds to strengthen in key areas he has already identified.

Warnock's top priority will be to secure
the services of of El Hadji Diouf on a permanent basis. The
controversial Senegalese forward is rumoured to be on a 5,000-a-week
short-term deal and keen to put down more solid roots.

They have long since convinced Bates they have the financial clout to complete a takeover and are anxious now to impress on a long-suffering Leeds public their commitment to taking the club forward, after years in the doldrums.

Luciano Becchio celebrates scoring from the penalty spot against Premier League Southampton on Tuesday

Welcome news: Luciano Becchio celebrates scoring from the penalty spot against Premier League Southampton on Tuesday. The Argentinian strike is set to see some new faces in the dressing room

Leeds are currently just three points off the play-off places and have drawn Chelsea – Bates' former club – in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, and there is a steadfast belief among GFH bosses that significant January signings allied to Warnock’s man-management skills can carry them back to the Premier League after a nine-year absence.

Mako Vunipola to be called up to England squad for autumn internationals

EXCLUSIVE: Saracens prop Vunipola set for surprise England call-up

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 20 October 2012

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will spring a surprise this week by calling up Saracens prop Mako Vunipola for next month’s QBE international series.

The uncapped 21-year-old from a Tongan family has forced his way into England’s 32-man squad courtesy of a brilliant start to the season.

The inclusion of the 20st forward, who was born in New Zealand, will also add to England’s growing contingent of overseas-born players, with the likes of Dylan Hartley, Brad Barritt, Mouritz Botha and Manu Tuilagi already mainstays in the squad.

Shock: Vunipola (second right) is expected to be selected by Stuart Lancaster

Shock: Vunipola (second right) is expected to be selected by Stuart Lancaster

With loosehead Alex Corbisiero out injured and unavailable for at least the first Tests against Fiji and Australia, Vunipola will join props Dan Cole, Joe Marler and David Wilson in the elite squad.

Vunipola, who is qualified to play for England, Tonga, New Zealand and Wales, has moved ahead of Wilson in the pecking order and looks certain to be selected in the squad for the November 10 Twickenham clash against Fiji.

It is a meteoric rise for Vunipola, who impressed when playing for the Grand Slam-winning England Under-20s team but who endured a torrid first year at Saracens after joining from Bristol, which saw him miss much of the season due to a broken metatarsal and then a torn hamstring.

Crocked: Alex Corbisiero (centre) is out injured

Crocked: Alex Corbisiero (centre) is out injured

This season he has been at the forefront of Sarries’ impressive start, both in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe, and it is this form, coupled with Corbisiero’s injury, which will see him promoted from the Saxons.

Vunipola’s 19-year-old brother, Billy, has stood out as a back-rower for England age groups and London Wasps. The pair have a rich rugby heritage in their family. Their father, Fe’ao, captained Tonga and won 32 caps, while they have six uncles and a grandfather who all played for the South Sea island.

Leicester’s Tom Youngs will also leap from the Saxons into the senior squad to replace injured Bath hooker Rob Webber.

Javier Hernandez: Fiorentina eye 8m swoop for Manchester united striker

Fiorentina eye 8m Hernandez swoop after Little Pea slips down United pecking order

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 19 October 2012

Javier Hernandez could be on his way out of Manchester United as Fiorentina prepare an 8million bid for the Mexico striker.

Hernandez has started just one Barclays Premier League fixture this season and is down the pecking order behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

Italian job: Fiorentina are preparing a summer move for Little Pea

Italian job: Fiorentina are preparing a summer move for Little Pea

He penned a five-year deal 12 months ago, but could be persuaded join the Serie A outfit who can offer him regular first-team football.

The Italian club are also willing to match Hernandez's current 80,000-a-week wages and hope to match his ambition by qualifying for the Champions League this next season.

The club currently occupy sixth in Italy’s top flight.

Move over: The arrival of Van Persie hasn't helped Hernadez's prospects

Move over: The arrival of Van Persie hasn't helped Hernadez's prospects

Federico Macheda wants to leave Manchester United in January

Fed-up Macheda wants to quit Old Trafford when transfer window re-opens

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UPDATED:

10:56 GMT, 17 October 2012

Federico Macheda will look to quit Manchester United in the New Year with the striker increasingly unsettled with his lack of first-team opportunities.

The Italy Under 21 international finds himself behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in the pecking order at Old Trafford.

He spent the end of last season on loan at QPR but managed only six appearances for Mark Hughes' side, while he had a spell in his homeland with Sampdoria in 2011.

Let me go: Federico Macheda wants to leave Manchester United when the transfer window re-opens in January

Let me go: Federico Macheda wants to leave Manchester United when the transfer window re-opens in January

Macheda's last outing for United came on Boxing Day last year as a substitute in the 5-0 Barclays Premier League win over Wigan.

But having spent this term stuck in the reserves, the 21-year-old's agent Giovanni Bia has revealed he wants to leave in January when the transfer window re-opens.

'How can he be decisive for the team if he never plays' Bia told ItaSportPress.

'Manchester United have some phenomenal players in attack, so it is truly difficult for Federico to find space. It’s not true what they write in the English papers that he’s going through a bad spell.

'He wants to play and if he cannot do so by January then we’ll try to find an alternative solution. I will talk to Sir Alex Ferguson over the next few days.

'Federico was requested by German and Spanish teams over the summer, but the English club preferred to keep hold of him.

'I hope they understand the situation and let him leave in January, because it makes no sense to keep a 21-year-old on the bench.'

Macheda was tipped to have a bright future under Sir Alex Ferguson at United when he spectacularly burst on the scene in April 2009, coming off the bench on his debut to seal an important winner against Aston Villa.