Mario Balotelli’s romance with Ligue 1 football is coming to an end

BBB(1)

The very talented and often misunderstood though egomaniac Mario Balotelli is set to leave Nice after spending almost 3 seasons with the club. It seems that there may have been a confrontation with new manager this season Patrick Vieira, although that has not been confirmed.

What we do know is that this season will very likely be Balotelli’s last in France and certainly last with Nice. The club are understood to want to sell the Italian player this month to cash in on him for small fee. Otherwise he will be free to leave in the summer for nothing.

Balotelli finally seemed to settle down in France where he had become a cult figure with Nice. The club had not only improved since his arrival in 2016 but he also scored goals. On his debut season in the league he scored 15 from just 23 games. In all competitions he has played 76 games and scored 43 goals which anyway you look at it is a terrific return. Balotelli proved that in Ligue 1 at least he still had the magic despite the usual baggage that comes with him.

Vieira and Nice have frozen the player out for much of this season where he has played just 10 games and has yet to score. Has there been a coming together between player and coach? One thing is for certain and that is the summer fiasco that Balotelli was involved in. Before the season started it looked like Marseille would buy Balotelli and he deal came very close but in the end never happened. The problem though was that as a result Balotelli missed most of pre season and training and did not come in fresh, this could be another reason that Vieira has been indifferent to the player.

So if Balotelli is to leave Nice and possibly France what could be next for a player who is 28 and still has a good 4-5 seasons ahead of him? A return to Italy could be out of the question, every time he has played their he has been sadly subjected to racist chants.

Perhaps he will come back to the Premier League He has divided a few fans since he has played for both Manchester City and Liverpool and getting a chance to play with some of the bigger teams will probably not be an option.

However a team near the bottom of the league could well do with Balotelli- as long as the coach strikes up a friendship with him, then Balotelli has proven that he can be a deadly striker and he could end up saving a team from relegation. If so a move could happen in the next few days. For now though it looks like au revoir to Balotelli’s career in France, which is slightly sad given that it seemed the French air and regime had indeed calmed the player down.

Henry has what it takes to succeed at Monaco

henry

When former Barcelona star and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was appointed as Leonardo Jardim’s successor at Monaco, hopes were high that Les Monégasques could kick on and get their awful start to the season firmly behind them. Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up had looked listless and devoid of much in the way of effort, and so Jardim’s departure unfortunately seemed more a case of when, rather than if. Henry would then return to the club he left for Juventus in 1999 to take the reins as the new man in charge, with the hopes that the optimism could sharp be brought back to Stade Louis II and the side could start to climb back up the table. If a title tilt was beyond their grasp, at least they could have a good go at getting as much ground back as possible. Surely?

Continue reading

Lyon star Fekir once again linked with move away

fekirLyon star Nabil Fekir looks once again set to depart the Ligue 1 outfit – and will hope that this time the deal can make it over the line. The 25-year-old had previously looked set to depart France for a move to Premier League side Liverpool, and had even recorded an interview for LFC TV. On top of that, the Merseysiders held a photoshoot of Fekir in the Reds’ home kit, with the move having looked all but done. However, Liverpool pulled the plug on the transfer at the last minute, leaving Fekir to return to the club he thought he had left to ply his trade once again in the 2018-19 campaign. Suggestions have risen up, meanwhile, that not one, but two top European clubs are keeping tabs on his progress.

Continue reading

PSG fans will again be banned from Marseille clash in a sad day for football

aaaaa (1)

Next week Marseille will play PSG in what could arguably be the game of the season so far in Ligue 1. However the atmosphere of the game will be dampened somewhat because all PSG fans will be banned from the Stade Velodrome.

Local police have confirmed that no PSG fans will be allowed into the stadium because other events in and around the city will have the police force stretched. On the face of it that statement makes sense, but for a few seasons now fans have been banned. Whilst PSG fans cannot visit Marseille, it is the same situation in Paris where Marseille fans are also banned.

Police will know in advance that some violence is very much possible between a minority set of fans, which of course is the real reason that away fans will be banned from next weekend’s fixture. What isn’t being thought out or clarified is a way to change the hooliganism in France.

For a great example could you expect to see Arsenal fans banned from visiting Old Trafford, or Chelsea fans banned from visiting Manchester City? In the 1970s and 80s in England this wouldn’t have been a surprise to see, although even then this rule was rarely put into place, but this is 2018 and France a nation that has won this years World Cup seem decades behind when it comes to the organisation of fans for the big football matches. Hooliganism is almost non existent in the Premier League and in France it is getting better, but sadly and most evidently it is still there.

This will be the 3rd season where PSG fans have been banned from travelling to Marseille for the match. Whilst on a human form something needs to change, the reputation of some fans will also damage TV viewing and marketing. Just look to Serie A for evidence, a league that was light years ahead in the 1990s has fallen greatly due to hooligans, in club fighting, match fixing and ultra fans, it can all be linked and this latest news is no good for Ligue 1.

Something needs to change from the top and fans need to be educated enough not to cross the line. For now it is evident beyond recognition that even if there is a beer festival in Marseille and some other events the real nature of the ban is stop the violence, it seems sadly that the local police had no other choice.

 

 

 

PSG’s Mbappe returns to action and breaks Ligue 1 record

mbappe4A couple of weeks back we reported about how Kylian Mbappe would serve a third match suspended following his sending off against Nimes last month, having previously hoped to get away with two matches on the sidelines. That suspension is now over of course, and this past weekend Mbappe lined up for his first home game since returning to the team with Lyon as the guests. The first half was a fairly run of the mill 45 minutes, with PSG going into the interval holding a 1-0 lead thanks to a first half penalty from Neymar. The second half, however, produced the type of football that fans in attendance could one day look back and say “I was there”. In just 13 second half minutes, Mbappe set the world alight once again – and made history while doing so.

Continue reading

Lille in pole position to keep Pepe amid Barcelona interest

pepeLille forward Nicolas Pepe has had a cracking start to the season – no headlines there – with five goals from his first eight appearances. Included among those goals was a hattrick in the club’s 3-2 win at Amiens in September, and as a result the 23-year-old has found himself in some demand from around Europe. Spanish giants Barcelona are one club to have been credited with an interest in him, while Premier League outfits Arsenal and Everton have also reportedly been keeping tabs on his progress. It would seem easy, then, to assume he could be bringing an end to his time in France after arriving in 2017 with a move to pastures new, but it would appear that the former Angers forward would prefer to remain with Les Dogues – for now, at least.

Continue reading

Mbappe loses appeal and will miss PSG clash with Reims

mbappe3France international Kylian Mbappe has lost his appeal against the red card he received at the start of September and will now sit out a third game, ruling him out of Paris Saint-Germain’s clash with Reims this week. The Ligue 1 leaders – already five points clear at the top, ahead of Lille – will likely stick with a front three of Edinson Cavani, Neymar  and Julian Draxler in the 19-year-old’s absence. Mbappe had been sent off in PSG’s 4-2 win over Nimes on September 1, after lashing out at Teji Sevanier. Sevanier was also banned – for four games in his instance – for his part in the fracas. Mbappe has begun the season in scintillating form, scoring four goals from his opening three appearances.

Continue reading

Buffon set for showdown talks with PSG boss Tuchel

buffonGianluigi Buffon is set for discussions with Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel over the Italian goalkeeper’s role at the Ligue 1 champions. Reports suggest that Tuchel wants to keep Alphonse Areola as the number 1 stopper at Parc des Princes, leaving Juventus legend Buffon warming the bench. That has not sat well with the 40-year-old, who wants to continue on with plenty of game time. The club have since implied, however, that the interview in which Tuchel stated that Areola was “in pole position” to start was done in German, and so his stance was essentially lost in translation into French. The French champions have started with Buffon in goal twice and Areola three times so far this season, with the younger custodian being chosen in each of the last three.

Continue reading

Is Adrien Rabiot the real thing?

Image

960Hardly a couple of weeks have passed since the summer transfer window slammed shut with the world-record transfer of Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea hailed as the pick of the signings. Surprisingly, the footballing world is abuzz with concrete news reports linking the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus with a possible move for a PSG-based player. However, what makes it all the more interesting is the fact that these reports do not involve high-profile players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Marco Verrati for once. The player being referred to is none other than French midfielder Adrien Rabiot who only has a year left on his existing club contract.

Continue reading

France beat Netherlands to maintain momentum after World Cup title

mbappeFrance began life at home after winning their second World Cup with a hard-earned win over the Netherlands, who failed to qualify for this summer’s tournament. It seemed fitting that the first goalscorer was none other than PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, who won the “Best Young Player” award in Russia. His work rate wearing the blue of his national team is every bit as impressive as it is in the Parisian home kit, and he timed his run perfectly to get onto the end of Blaise Matuidi‘s lovely pass across the face of goal, tapping France ahead after 13 minutes. Didier Deschamps’ men were ahead until the second half, when Besiktas’ Ryan Babel brought the Dutch level. It wasn’t long until Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud restored the lead and ultimately won it for France.

Continue reading