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RECIFE, Brazil -- Mario Balotelli couldnt care less if hes mentioned in the same breath as Neymar or Lionel Messi at this World

in Share With Other Members Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:10 am
by jokergreen0220 • 480 Posts

RECIFE, Brazil -- Mario Balotelli couldnt care less if hes mentioned in the same breath as Neymar or Lionel Messi at this World Cup -- as long as he comes away with the trophy. Vans Sk8 Hi Leather . Having scored the winning goal in Italys 2-1 victory over England and now getting ready for Fridays match against Costa Rica, the temperamental forward has gained more attention than any other Azzurri player in Brazil. "I hope this is Italys World Cup, not Marios. Im not really interested in being compared with the big stars," Balotelli said Thursday. "In the end its the squad that wins. I dont want to be a big star. I want to win the World Cup." "Personally, I want to score as many goals as possible," he added at the official pre-match news conference. "But the important thing is that the squad wins and advances." Wearing a black cap turned backward and a total of three diamond earrings -- two on his right ear, one on the left -- Balotelli was his usual candid self. Asked if he minds being the lone forward in coach Cesare Prandellis 4-1-4-1 formation, Balotelli snapped back: "As long as I play." This is a first World Cup for Balotelli, who helped lead Italy to the 2012 European Championship final. "This is the biggest event of my career and I want to give my all," he said. "The World Cup is more important than the Golden Ball, the Champions League or the scudetto (Serie A title), so its only normal that it creates a spark inside of you." Balotelli has made headlines almost from the moment he landed in Brazil, first by proposing to his Belgian girlfriend on a moon-lit beach in the week leading up to the England match. "The proposal had nothing to do with the World Cup," Balotelli said. "The proposal would have occurred even without the World Cup." Balotelli is coming off an up-and-down club season with AC Milan and has been the subject of rampant transfer speculation in recent weeks. There have been reports that Arsenal is offering Milan a (euro)30 million ($40 million) transfer fee, and a contract for Balotelli worth 180,000 pounds (more than $300,000) per week. "My focus is 100 per cent on the World Cup," he said. "I dont know what will happen afterward. I dont know anything." While he does appear focused, Balotelli was not prepared for questions about Costa Ricas players. For example, what does he think about Keylor Navas, who had a strong season with Levante and is considered one of the top goalkeepers in the Spanish league? "Honestly, Im unprepared for this question because I havent seen the Costa Rica goalkeeper," he responded. OK, so what impressed him about Costa Ricas defence in a 3-1 win over Uruguay? "I saw the match but to be sincere I didnt study the players," Balotelli said. "Ill watch them tonight." That was the point when Prandelli butted in and offered help. "If you want, I can answer about all of the players," the coach told a Costa Rican journalist with a smile. Costa Rica defender Giancarlo Gonzalez, however, wasnt amused. "We will let the world know that we are here," Gonzalez said. Sitting right next to Balotelli, Prandelli managed to analyze his prized players hot and cold streaks as if he were there alone. "If you look at Mario in these four years there have been moments of alarm," Prandelli said. "One moment hes the man whos going to bring you to the top of the world and then a moment later he shouldnt even be at the World Cup." "The important thing for us is for him to stay focused and play like he did in the last match," Prandelli added. "If he does that for 90 minutes he could be decisive. He needs to give 100 per cent." Vans Old Skool Clearance . The San Angelo, Texas product, who was a high school and college quarterback sensation in the Lone Star State, will start his first CFL game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-4) on Friday at Mosaic Stadium against the leagues top team, the Calgary Stampeders (11-2). Vans Old Skool White Sale . With Bernard hurt, the second-round pick has emerged.Hill ran for 152 yards during a 27-10 win at New Orleans on Sunday, his second big game. He also ran for 154 yards against Jacksonville earlier this season. http://www.vansshoesclearancesale.com/ . -- Jimmie Johnson has a sixth NASCAR championship in hand and two legends within reach. INDIANAPOLIS -- Scott Dixon insists that Ganassi Racing wasnt trying to bamboozle anybody. After struggling last week and failing to put a car in the fast nine for qualifying, the team led by defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan staged a rally on Carb Day. Kanaan was left atop the leaderboard Friday with a lap of 227.838 mph, while Dixon was next-fastest at 227.773 mph. "We definitely didnt do it on purpose," said Dixon, who will start in the middle of the fourth row Sunday. "We would like to roll out straightaway and be quick. I think we are normally." Kanaan will start on the inside of the sixth row as he attempts to become the first back-to-back winner since Helio Castroneves in 2003. Teammate Charlie Kimball will start in the ninth row. "We feel good about it," Kanaan said. "We worked pretty hard together to make up for our Saturday qualifying. We have great people back in the engineering office at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and it really showed a little bit after qualifying and today." The turnaround by the Ganassi stable brought back memories of 2012, when the team struggled throughout the month of May. But by the time Carb Day rolled around, Dario Franchitti had posted the fastest lap of the day, and Dixon was close behind in second. That was how they would finish on Sunday. Franchitti went on to win his third Indy 500, and Takuma Satos last-lap spin into the Turn 1 wall allowed Dixon to finish second. Townsend Bell, three-time winner Helio Castroneves and rookie Mikhail Aleshin joined Kanaan and Dixon among the five fastest laps Friday. Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti were next on the speed chart, while Juan Pablo Montoya was ninth-quickest. Kurt Busch stepped into Andrettis backup car and climbed to 15th on the chart. Busch wrecked his primary car in practice on Monday, forcing his team to convert a car that Andretti had planned to use at Detroit from a road-course setup to an oval setup. "Just had to get back on my horse," said Busch, who will attempt to run the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on Sunday. "As the NASCAR guys always say, Got to thank my crew, but honestly, this is a thank-the-ccrew moment from Andretti Autosport. Vans Shoes Outlet. " On a busy Carb Day at Indianapolis, here are five more things that happened: ANOTHER DOUBLE: As Busch becomes the fourth driver to attempt double duty, theres been speculation more NASCAR drivers may someday try the grueling feat. Buschs younger brother, Kyle, has said hell make an attempt if he ever wins a Sprint Cup championship. "I dont know why more NASCAR guys dont do it," former IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay said. "You only live once. Its two of the biggest races in the world, so why not do it?" BLOCKING RULES: An unofficial poll of drivers indicated very few want to be the leader in the closing laps of Sundays race. But Dixon and Kanaan believe murky rules mean the leader could potentially block attempts at a pass for the win without risking a penalty from race control. "We havent gotten clarification on that. You can defend now," Dixon said. If blocking occurs, Kanaan hopes it is fair. "I dont think its fair enough sometimes to be the leader that hell be exposed and hes going to lose the race because he was in the lead. It does not make any sense," Kanaan said. "There is a certain amount of defending that should be allowed." INDY IN (SLOPE)STYLE: Olympic snowboarder Nick Goepper, who took home the bronze medal at the Sochi Games, stopped by the speedway to check out the festivities. Goepper grew up near Cincinnati in Lawrenceburg, just on the Indiana side of the state line, and plans to watch Sundays race from the infield pagoda. "I remember the movie Rush that came out, the whole racing atmosphere. These guys are incredible drivers," Goepper said. "They have so much composure. Its amazing." GETTING COMFORTABLE: Paul Tracy still wants to be in a race car, but his time appears to have passed. Now, the popular Tracy has landed a part-time gig with NBC Sports Network. The original deal called for Tracy to work in the booth for six races, but it was expanded to include NBCs limited coverage of preparations for the Indianapolis 500, as well as two additional events later this season. Tracy said he struggled initially, and but "Ill get it figured out." ' ' '

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