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WORLD CUP: Mario Balotelli handed Italy recall



Mario Balotelli has been named in the Italy national squad for the first time since 2018 as the Azzurri prepare for a pivotal international break that will determine their World Cup qualification status.

Balotelli spent years under current national team boss Roberto Mancini while the pair were both at Premier League titans Manchester City, memorably winning the title together in the most dramatic fashion.

They also worked together at Serie A giants Inter Milan beforehand and Balotelli’s common temper tantrums have clearly not rubbed Mancini up the wrong way.

The 31-year-old has become somewhat of a journeyman striker in recent years and currently plies his trade with Adana Demirspor in Turkey but has clearly impressed and earned his Italy call-up as a result.

Balotelli has looked someway back to his best with Demirspor and has registered nine goals and four assists in 21 appearances across all competitions.

Mancini has overseen great success as Italy boss and was at the helm for their Euro 2020 success last summer after defeating England on penalties at Wembley Stadium.

However, their attempts to confirm their place in Qatar for the World Cup later this year have proved far more difficult and there is every chance the reigning European Championship holders could miss out on the tournament altogether.

They have been drawn against North Macedonia and providing they get the job done against the Eastern Europeans Balotelli will face off against current Manchester resident Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal’s dramatic 2-1 home defeat by Serbia ensured Fernando Santos’ men will also drop down into the play-off rat race as they too try to book their place in Qatar.

Ronaldo is desperate to add a World Cup gong to his staggering trophy cabinet that includes Euro 2016 after Portugal toppled France in Paris.

Balotelli and Co. would not have home advantage were they to beat North Macedonia and Portugal beat Turkey.

Should Italy lose either clash, it would mark the second World Cup in a row they have failed to qualify for after missing out on Russia in 2018.


Kylian Mbappe snubs Real Madrid transfer to sign new PSG mega 3 year deal of £1m per week salary



World Cup winner and Paris Saint-Germain superstar, Kylian Mbappe has confirmed he will be signing a new contract at Parc des Princes just days after it seemed he will be joining Real Madrid.

Mbappe addressed the entirety of the Parc des Princes crowd before Paris Saint-Germain’s final home game of the Ligue 1 season against Metz on Saturday night, May 21.

The 23-year-old was handed the microphone to announce he has penned a new three-year deal with the French giants – putting an end to a move to Real Madrid. 

Real Madrid were extremely confident that they would boast the superstar within their ranks from this summer onwards once Mbappe’s original deal with PSG had expired. 

But a new bumper contract of about £1m weekly has seen the 23-year-old commit his future to the Parisians.

Addressing the crowd, Mbappe explained: “I am very happy to stay at PSG in France. I always said Paris is my home, I hope we continue to play football and win trophies together. Thanks for everything. I hope that I will continue to do what I prefer to with you all… and win titles together! Thanks a lot.”

PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi broke the news before introducing Mbappe to the crowd by declaring: “I’m proud to give you a beautiful news: Kylian Mbappé has signed until June 2025 with Paris Saint-Germain.”

Mbappe has enjoyed a stunning season individually, helping fire the club to a tenth Ligue 1 title with his phenomenal for in front of goal. The World Cup winner has the most goals and most assists of any player in the league with 25 and 17 to his name respectively in the division alone.

With his new contract, he now surpasses team mates Neymar and Lionel Messi as the highest earner in the club.

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Juventus give Arsenal three players in exchange deal for Giorgio Chiellini’s replacement



Juventus are so desperate to land defender, Gabriel Magalhaes this summer and will offer Arsenal three players, according to Corriere dello Sport.

The Old Lady have identified Gabriel as a possible successor to Giorgio Chiellini, who will leave Turin this summer, and are keen to reach a quick agreement with Arsenal.

It is understood that the three players Juventus will offer Arsenal to force the deal for their 24-year-old centre-back are Arthur Melo, Weston McKennie and Moise Kean.

The report added that Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini has travelled to London for talks with Arsenal over a deal for Gabriel.

Juventus are in the market to replace Chiellini, who is leaving the Serie A giants this summer after 17 years.

However, it’s claimed that Arsenal are demanding at least £42.4million for Gabriel.

Gabriel joined the Gunners from Lille in a £27million deal in 2020.

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EPL: Man Utd warn Barcelona over De Jong transfer



Manchester United have made it clear to Barcelona, they will not meet their £70 million asking price for Frenkie De Jong, according to Daily Mail.

The Premier League side are keen on signing De Jong, as Paul Pogba is set to leave on a free transfer this summer.

The Barca midfielder has already been identified by incoming manager, Erik Ten Hag, as a potential option having already managed him at Ajax.

Barcelona are open to a deal, as they are also seeking funds to put together a deal for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

However, United have informed the LaLiga club that they do not want to spend a significant part of their summer budget on signing De Jong.

Barca are looking to recoup the £65 million they spent on signing the 25-year-old from Ajax in 2019.

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