Mario Balotelli AC Milan

Mario Balotelli scores twice to help AC Milan win

After an up-and-down playing career at Manchester City, Mario Balotelli has landed at AC Milan and started his time at AC Milan with a bang. Balotelli scored in the 24th minute and then won the game for Milan, converting a stoppage time penalty to give AC Milan a 2-1 win over Udinese. Balotelli’s first start with his new club could not have been much better, unless he scored a hat-trick. However, I think he will be okay with two goals and a game winner.

Balotelli’s skill on the field has never been questioned. It’s his character off the field that has caused trouble for the young Italian striker. Maybe now that he is at his boyhood club, the off-field problems will cease and the talk surrounding Balotelli will be his skill on the pitch. AC Milan is going to need Balotelli to continue producing goals following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure for PSG.

Even with the win, AC Milan remains in fourth place in Serie A. They trail Lazio by three points for the final Champions League qualifying spot. AC Milan will be desperate to claim that final Champions League spot and Balotelli could be crucial in helping AC Milan get three points the rest of the season.

AC Milan may not have the chance to play their game this weekend against Cagliari due to safety concerns. ESPNFC posted a statement regarding the game in an article.

“The conditions do not exist from a public ordinance or security perspective for the hosting of the Cagliari-Milan match at the Is Arenas di Quartu,” according to ESPNFC.

If an alternate venue cannot be found, the game could be cancelled.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Man United - 2013

Will Manchester United win the Premier League?

The other day, we posted about Barcelona and their domination this season in La Liga. Despite only holding a nine-point lead on Atletico Madrid, it seems predetermined that Barcelona will win La Liga this season. However, when we look at Manchester United, it does not seem predetermined that they will win the Premier League, even though they hold the same nine-point lead as Barcelona.

Therefore, I pose the question: Is it safe to say United will win the Premier League? Through 25 games, United has won 20, tied twice and lost only three times. Is the reason people don’t give United enough credit in the Premier League because they find them boring? In January, Fox Soccer columnist Leander Schaerlaeckens voiced his opinion of United.

However, United has scored 60 goals, the most in the Premier League. The next closest team is Chelsea with 51 goals, and those 60 goals are only 12 goals behind the team many claim to be the best team in the world, Barcelona. So it is not like United are playing 0-0 draws every week. Maybe it isn’t the lack of goals, but the fact that United are so consistent, a fact that Schaerlaeckens pointed out, that makes them boring. If you want to find the last time United lost a game in the Premier League, you must go back to Nov. 17.

Maybe the reason they are boring is because, despite being a big name club, United do not have many big name players. As ESPNFC’s Mark Payne points out, United has Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, but who else?

“When asked to discuss the midfield, United fans often scratch the back of their heads and say something like, ‘They’re okay,” according to Payne. “This has not been the most illustrious year for United’s defence. Seven teams have been more effective at protecting their goal than the league leaders this term.”

The ultimate question remains: Is it safe to say United will win the Premier League? Is United boring because we are just too used to their winning ways? Let us know what you think about the Premier League title race and United’s style of play.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Lionel Messi

Barcelona is cruising in La Liga

Barcelona had their point lead atop La Liga reduced over the weekend after a 1-1 draw against Valencia. It took a Lionel Messi penalty to save a point for the league leaders. While Barcelona dropped points, Atletico Madrid beat Real Betis 1-0. Despite having their lead reduced, Barcelona still has a nine point lead over Atletico Madrid in La Liga and a 16-point lead over rivals Real Madrid.

Part of the reason Barcelona are cruising in La Liga is because of Messi’s fine run of form. Messi has scored 34 goals while adding 8 more assists in 22 La Liga matches. With those goals and assists, Messi has contributed or scored more than half of Barcelona’s goals this season in La Liga. That is incredible with a team like Barcelona, where there are world-class players all over the field.

With a solid lead in La Liga, Barcelona may start looking to their Champions League match-up against AC Milan. Barcelona will want to reclaim the Champions League trophy after Chelsea won it last season. Barcelona has a favorable match-up against AC Milan in the Last 16. AC Milan currently sits in fourth in Serie A, 12 points behind league leaders Juventus.

The way the season has gone so far, it is hard to find a team that could beat Barcelona in either La Liga or the Champions League. Not only has Messi scored a large amount of goals in La Liga, he has also scored five goals and added two assists in the Champions League. Barcelona looks set to reclaim La Liga and the Champions League this season. Let us know who could possibly beat Barcelona in either La Liga or the Champions League.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Inter Milan Away Jersey

Inter Milan Away Jersey – 2012/13

Inter Milan has struggled recently in Serie A, going winless their past three games. Despite their poor form, Inter are still fifth in Serie A, tied on points with rival AC Milan. They are three points out of Champions League qualifying and 12 points behind league leaders Juventus.

Despite likely being out of the Serie A title race, Inter are still in a tight race to make it into the Champions League. If they were to miss the Champions League next season, it would be a massive disappointment for one of Italy’s top clubs. During this crucial run, Inter will be wearing their great looking away jersey when they travel away from the San Siro.

Inter’s away jersey looks a lot different from previous versions. This away jersey is primarily red, the colors of their rival AC Milan, but still ties in Inter’s traditional colors. Each sleeve features a blue and black stripe that ties in the club’s home jersey. Inter’s long standing sponsor, Pirelli, is pressed on the front in white and the club’s crest is stitched on the left chest with a single gold star above the crest.

This jersey not only looks great but is also extremely comfortable. It is made of 100 percent recycled polyester. It also features Nike’s Dri-Fit technology to keep you cool and comfortable while you cheer on your favorite club.

This jersey has a much different look than previous Inter away jerseys and ties in the club’s traditional black and blue colors. It also is extremely comfortable. This jersey is currently available at SoccerPro.com, so head over and check it out today.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Balotelli

Mario Balotelli is going to AC Milan

Mario Balotelli is heading back to Milan, however, this time he will be with the other Milan club. Balotelli played for Inter Milan before joining Manchester City in 2010. Balotelli has played in seven games in the Premier League for City this season, but has only scored once.

“Milan reportedly paid $27 million plus bonuses for Balotelli, who will be taking a pay cut to play for the club he has supported since childhood,” according to ESPNFC.

Balotelli’s time at City has been up-and-down. Last season, Balotelli netted 13 goals with one assist as City claimed the Premier League title. That’s the good. The list of bad, as documented by BBC Sport, is much longer. Balotelli has always been a controversial figure and it seemed his time at City was finished several times before the news of his transfer.

Balotelli will be a welcome addition at AC Milan after striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic departed for PSG. AC Milan is currently 12 points behind league leaders Juventus and six points behind Lazio for the final Champions League spot. AC Milan must be hoping the addition of Balotelli will help the team net more goals and climb the table in order to be in the Champions League next season.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Jurgen

U.S. face Canada before final World Cup qualifying round

The Canadian national team travels to BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston to face the U.S. national team tonight. Even though the game is just an international friendly, it still holds some importance.

This is the last match the U.S. national team will play before facing Honduras Feb. 6 in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualification. The U.S. will need to perform much better than they performed in the previous round of qualifying. The remaining six teams are the United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama. Out of these six teams, the top three qualify for the 2014 World Cup and the fourth place team goes to a playoff. Americansoccernow.com has a fantastic page dedicated to the final round of qualifying and is worth a look.

It will be interesting to see whom the U.S. plays tonight and how the team looks going into a difficult final round of qualifying. If you are looking for something to keep you occupied before actual lineups are announced, ProSoccerTalk and Bleacher Report take their best guess of the starting lineup tonight.

After the match, make sure to check out the site again for post-match thoughts and comments about the performance.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Japanese Pioneer Binocular Soccer….Goes As Well As Expected….(Video)

The Japanese are known for inventing and loving wild and zany sports, but they may build a bridge too far with their latest creation, binocular soccer.

Wesley Sneijder

Sneijder heading to Turkey

Wesley Sneijder is on his way to Galatasaray after passing a physical. Despite rumors linking Sneijder to Premier League clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City, the midfielder is on his way to the Turkish club.

Sneijder signed a three-and-a-half year deal with Galatasaray, leaving Inter Milan after contract negotiations stalled. However, there are no hard feelings from the Dutch midfielder.

“I also want to thank [Inter President Massimo] Moratti, as our problems were only economic, never personal. I leave Inter on good terms – they allowed me to win everything possible,” Sneijder said according to ESPNFC.

Under manager Jose Mourinho, Inter and Sneijder won the treble – Serie A, Copa Italia and Champions League – during the 2009/10 campaign. However, since then, Inter have struggled on the pitch and currently sit fourth in Serie A, which would leave the club missing the Champions League.

Despite Sneijder’s success at Inter, he has only played in five Serie A games this season, scoring once and assisting once.

According to ESPNFC, Sneijder looked to Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal before making his decision.

“I called Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal because they have been key figures in my football career and I think their opinion is important,” Sneijder said. “They both said the same thing: ‘Do!’ They gave me the final push, knowing how Turkish football is on the rise.”

Galatasaray is currently first in the Turkish league, and are one of the remaining 16 teams in the Champions League tournament. Galatasaray will face Schalke in the Champions League.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Nike_Mercurial_Vapor_IX_Fireberry

Revealed: The New Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG Soccer Shoes

Nike have just released the new Nike Mercurial Vapor IX and my god do they look stunning. Despite the fact several top players like Neymar, Ronaldo, Kevin Prince-Boateng, EL Shaarawy, and several others have gone ahead and ignored the rules to release their own pairs the new Nike Mercurial Vapor IX on Twitter. That said, these soccer shoes are chocked full of brand new technology that bears a closer look.

The upper on the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX has been engineered to be the thinnest and softest synthetic leather ever made, and I have to say after trying them out the fit is pretty good. The upper is one piece of Teijin synthetic, stitched together at the back, and really forms to fit your foot the minute you get it on. This means you won’t have a lot of break in time with these, and like the previous version, they’re ready to wear right out of the box. The upper will also hold its shape, so you won;t have to keep wearing them to keep a good fit. These shoes are a match day boot, not something for practice, and for that reason I really like this feature. These Nike boots also integrate the new All Conditions Control (ACC) wet-dry play technology. This outer coating on the upper allows you to get a dry touch on the ball regardless of conditions. It works just like Scotch Guard on a pair of suede shoes in that it totally repels water off of it. Its a very useful bit of tech, especially if you live somewhere other than the desert.

As for the rest of the boot, the insole is perforated to wick away any moisture, and offers decent comfort. One caveat, if you have a high arch or flat feet and need to use special insoles when you play, make sure you get a half-size larger than what you’d normally get to be sure you have enough room, and be prepared to cut the insoles down to fit the toebox. The cleat pattern on the bottom these soccer shoes is more or less the same as the one found on the bottom of the previous Vapor VIII and works just fine. It lets gets a good grip on the ground and you won’t feel any painful pressure from the cleats. The two rear cleats are also reinforced with a TPU injection and the frame they are attached to is made from the same Pebax Renu material that was one the bottom of the pioneering Green Speed (GS) soccer cleats.

Other than that, these are comfortable and lightweight pair of soccer cleats and the color looks absolutely stunning. For those two reasons I’d highly recommend them to any player who wants professional level performance on the pitch, and let everyone see them coming.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com