Vieira Asks Balotelli To Decide On Future At Nice

Vieira Asks Balotelli To Decide On Future At Nice
A file photo of Mario Balotelli

 

Troublesome Italian striker Mario Balotelli has been given extended leave by French outfit Nice and told to make up his mind about his plans with the club.

Under contract at Nice until the end of the 2018-2019 season, the 28-year-old has scored 33 goals in 51 games since joining the Ligue 1 side in 2016.

Observers, however, feel Patrick Vieira — who took over as coach in June and has overseen just seven wins in 18 league matches — is ready to transfer Balotelli during the winter break with interest reported in England and Turkey.

“I have given Mario a few extra days off to think about his future and what he wants to do,” said Vieira, who played alongside the giant centre-forward at Manchester City and Inter Milan.

“He’s under contract here and everything is possible if we can come to a common agreement who knows,” said Vieira.

Balotelli came close to a move to Marseille over the summer and returned to training late and unfit after the deal fell through.

Vieira ‘Honoured’ By Arsenal Link, But Staying Put

Vieira 'Honoured' By Arsenal Link, But Staying Put
(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 16, 2004, Arsenal team captain Patrick Vieira (L) and manager Arsene Wenger wave from the open-top bus carrying the winners of the British Premier League Championship, Arsenal players and their families, on its way to Islington Town Hall, as part of the club’s victory celebration.

 

Patrick Vieira says he would be ready for the challenge of managing Arsenal but insists he has no intention of leaving his current job at Major League Soccer side New York City FC.

The former Arsenal captain and France international told Britain’s The Times in an interview that he was “honoured” to have his name mentioned among the possible candidates to succeed Arsene Wenger as manager.

However, the 41-year-old repeatedly emphasised that he was enjoying his role with New York, who are owned by the same parent group as Manchester City and are currently top of the MLS Eastern Conference.

“I mentally know what’s going on, what people are saying,” Vieira told The Times when asked about the speculation linking him to Arsenal.

“I’m really happy about that because I think it’s good to have your name linked to a team like Arsenal. But honestly, it’s not something which will stop me doing what I am doing at the moment.”

Vieira was a cornerstone of Wenger’s first decade at Arsenal and was captain during the Gunners’ famous “Invincibles” unbeaten season in 2004.

Wenger confirmed last week that he was leaving at the end of the season after 22 years in charge of the Premier League giants.

Vieira said that while he had a special relationship with Arsenal, that alone would not prompt him to return to England.

“It’s an honour to be mentioned with Arsenal,” Vieira said. “It was somewhere I spent nine years and I love the club. I played my best football there and made my name in the game.

“I am always going to have a deeper relationship with Arsenal. That (alone) is not enough to coach that team but I’m ready to coach any side in Europe.

“I don’t want this to be perceived that I want to go because I don’t want to leave. But, if the question is as simple as, ‘Are you ready to manage any teams in Europe?’ then I would say yes. I am ready. I think we’re all doing this job because one day we want to coach the biggest teams in Europe,” he said.

AFP

Frank Lampard Says Hiddink Is Perfect For Chelsea

Frank LampardFormer Chelsea midfielder, Frank Lampard believes Guus Hiddink is perfect manager to transform the fortunes of his former club.

Hiddink took over from Jose Mourinho after their woeful start to the campaign saw them lose nine of their first 16 league games.

Chelsea are currently six points above the relegation zone and are up against London rivals, Arsenal in their next Premier League match.

Frank Lampard is, however, enjoying his stint at the Major League Soccer and hopes the new season will be more successful.

With new man Patrick Vieira in charge, Lampard believes the Frenchman’s international experience will have a positive impact on his team.

Former France international, Patrick Vieira, has been unveiled as head coach of New York City FC.

Vieira had been working with the development squad of the Major League Soccer Club.

New York’s first preseason match is a friendly against Florida Gulf Coast University men’s soccer team on January 31.

Idris Elba, International Footballers Launch Campaign Against Ebola

Idris ElbaA public awareness campaign was launched on Wednesday, December 3, by international football stars and the British actor, Idris Elba.

It’s focus is to put an end to West Africa’s Ebola epidemic and to show to the health workers fighting the disease, that they are being recognized.

Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia are countries that have been most affected by the Ebola epidemic with a record of more than 6,000 people dead.

The British Actor, Idris Elba, whose parents hail from Sierra Leone and Ghana, said ”For me, the battle against Ebola is a personal one. To see those amazing countries in West Africa where my father grew up and my parents married being ravaged by this disease is painful and horrific.”

The Africa United campaign, unveiled ahead of the African Cup of Nations draw in Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo on Wednesday, broadcasts information on the disease and how to stop it spreading in French, English, Krio and other local languages.

Messages would be sent out to the three countries and their neighbours via television, radio, billboards and phone text messages, said organizers.

The campaign was backed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation.

In one of the campaign’s spots, Elba plays a football coach giving a half-time talk during West Africa’s “life or death” match against Ebola and passing on tips on how to spot the disease and prevent new infections.

Footballers Yaya Touré, Carlton Cole, Fabrice Muamba, Andros Townsend, Kei Kamara and Patrick Vieira pay homage to the work of frontline healthcare workers by wearing their names on the backs of their jerseys.

Manchester City midfielder, Touré hails from Ivory Coast, which shares borders with three countries hit by the disease but has so far been spared.

Touré said, “I could not sit back without doing something to help fight Ebola, the campaign pays tribute to the many African heroes who are in the villages, towns and cities using their skills, resourcefulness and intelligence to battle Ebola.”