Marseille back to winning ways, Balotelli injured
PARIS (AP) — With Mario Balotelli forced off the field early in the game, Valere Germain and Luiz Gustavo took on the scoring responsibilities as Marseille beat Nimes 2-1 in the French league on...
PARIS (AP) — An own goal from Wesley Lautoa was enough for Lille to tighten its hold on a Champions League qualification place with a 1-0 win over Dijon in the French league on...
Balotelli scores again as Marseille rises to 4th in Ligue 1
PARIS (AP) — Mario Balotelli scored a fine goal in Marseille's 2-0 home win against Amiens on Saturday, taking his tally to three in four games since joining from Nice.
The Italian striker failed to score in 10 games for Nice this season, and questions were raised about whether he was match fit when Marseille signed him last month. But he's turned the talk into whether his goals can help Marseille push for third place in the French league, and a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds.
Balotelli scores again in Marseille’s 2-1 victory at Dijon
DIJON, France (AP) — Mario Balotelli's second goal in three games helped Marseille to a 2-1 win at Dijon in the French league on Friday.
The Italy striker, who joined last month from Nice, turned the ball in from close range in the 57th minute after winger Florian Thauvin headed on a corner from the right.
Marseille's second straight victory moved the side up to fifth ahead of this weekend's matches, and also took some pressure off coach Rudi Garcia following a poor run of results.
Balotelli left out of Italy squad for Portugal and US games
ROME (AP) — Mario Balotelli has again been left out of the Italy squad, this time for matches against Portugal and the United States.
Balotelli was included in Roberto Mancini's first two squads as coach and played his first matches for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, but the Nice forward was left out last month and was again excluded on Friday.
Cutrone and 2 defenders leave Italy squad with injuries
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Three injured players have left Italy's squad ahead of a friendly against Ukraine and a UEFA Nations League match at Poland.
Forward Patrick Cutrone and defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Danilo D'Ambrosio were all ruled out with minor physical problems.
Sampdoria defender Lorenzo Tonelli and Valencia fullback Cristiano Piccini were called up as replacements.
Striker Ciro Immobile remained with the squad despite a broken finger.
Giovinco back in Italy squad after 3-year absence
GENOA, Italy (AP) — Sebastian Giovinco is back in the Italy squad after an absence of nearly three years, but Mario Balotelli has been left out.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini included the 31-year-old Toronto FC forward in the 28-man squad he named Friday for upcoming matches against Ukraine and Poland.
Giovinco, who has scored one goal in 23 appearances for Italy, last played for his country on Oct. 15, 2015.
Chiellini rejoins Italy squad; 17yo Pellegri called up
ROME (AP) — Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini has rejoined Italy's squad for the opening Nations League matches against Poland and Portugal.
Chiellini had not been included in Italy's squad since a playoff loss to Sweden last year excluded the Azzurri from the World Cup.
Also, 17-year-old Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri was among five players receiving their first callups by coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday.
Balotelli’s return helps Vieira’s Nice to win 1-0 at Lyon
PARIS (AP) — Mario Balotelli helped coach Patrick Vieira to his first success in the French league as Nice won at Lyon 1-0 on Friday.
Although Balotelli did not score the Italy striker was a constant threat having missed the first three games of the season through suspension. Nice did not win any of those, picking up only a draw as Vieira — a dominant midfielder with Arsenal, Juventus and France during his playing career — got off to a difficult start.
Marseille’s ambition in question after not signing Balotelli
Supposedly an ambitious club, Marseille has a strange way of showing it.
With a highly-regarded coach in Rudi Garcia, solid financial backing, and a creative team, all it really lacks is a high-class center forward.
NICE, France (AP) — Patrick Vieira's coaching career at Nice got off to a rocky start after strikers Mario Balotelli and Alassane Plea failed to show up for the first day of pre-season training Monday.
Balotelli top-scored last season with 18 goals, while Plea netted 16. Both have been linked with moves this summer, with Premier League West Ham reportedly keen on Plea and Balotelli a target for French rival Marseille.
MILAN (AP) — Mario Balotelli could make his first appearance for Italy in nearly four years after the Nice forward was named in a 30-man squad by new coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday.
Balotelli last played for Italy in the 2014 World Cup, where the Azzurri was eliminated at the group stage. He was called up by Antonio Conte in November of that year but was forced to withdraw from the squad with injury.
ROME (AP) — Italy coach Roberto Mancini plans to talk to long-excluded striker Mario Balotelli about a possible return to the national team as he attempts to rebuild a squad that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
Balotelli has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, but he featured under Mancini at both Inter Milan and Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini is Italy coach
ROME (AP) — Roberto Mancini has been confirmed as Italy's new coach.
The Italian football federation made the announcement late Monday, saying Mancini will be introduced on Tuesday but without providing contract details.
Mancini replaces Gian Piero Ventura, who was fired in November after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
Luigi Di Biagio guided Italy in an interim role for recent friendlies.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Roberto Mancini will leave his job as Zenit St. Petersburg coach on Monday ahead of an expected appointment with the Italian national team.
Zenit said in a statement Mancini is leaving "by mutual consent without any compensation payments" after a single, largely unsuccessful, season with the Russian club.
ROME (AP) — Patrick Cutrone and Federico Chiesa, both 20-year-old forwards, have received their first call-ups to Italy's squad for friendlies against Argentina and England.
Mario Balotelli remained excluded despite his strong form with Nice.
Italy faces Argentina on Friday in Manchester, England, then plays England in London four days later.
Italy will play its first game since a playoff loss to Sweden in November excluded the Azzurri from the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
French league investigates alleged racist abuse of Balotelli
PARIS (AP) — The French football league has opened an investigation after Nice striker Mario Balotelli complained about racist abuse from fans.
According to a statement on the league's website, the investigation's conclusions will be delivered March 15.
Nice said that Balotelli was shown a yellow card for complaining about the racist abuse he received on Feb. 10 from Dijon supporters, but game referee Nicolas Rainville said he did not hear insults or shouts coming from the stand.
Nice says Balotelli booked for reacting to racist abuse
NICE, France (AP) — French club Nice says striker Mario Balotelli was shown a yellow card for complaining about racist abuse he received from Dijon fans on Saturday.
Nice tweeted the Italian forward, who was booked in the 74th minute of a 3-2 away defeat by referee Nicolas Rainville, was cautioned after remonstrating with fans about the abuse. No further details were given.
Written off by many, Balotelli now returning to top form
PARIS (AP) — Mario Balotelli's return to form at Nice owes much to the astute guidance and firm belief of coach Lucien Favre.
When Favre signed the Italian forward on a free transfer from Liverpool last season, some observers ridiculed his chances of success after Balotelli had endured two poor campaigns.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher derided the move, saying on Twitter that paying nothing was "over the odds" for a player carrying such a troublesome reputation.
Marseille battles back from 2 goals down to win 4-2 at Nice
Marseille took advantage of Saint-Etienne's surprise defeat at Troyes to move third in Ligue 1 after battling back from two goals down to win 4-2 at Nice in a Mediterranean derby match on Sunday.
Despite playing the final 24 minutes with 10 men, Marseille held on to move within three points of defending champion Monaco and six behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.
No surprises in Italy squad for final World Cup qualifiers
MILAN (AP) — There were no surprises in the 25-man Italy squad announced on Saturday for its final World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Albania.
Bologna winger Simone Verdi received a second call up, after making his debut in March a friendly against the Netherlands.
There was still no space for Nice forward Mario Balotelli despite him scoring five goals in his past five matches for the French club.
Nice routs titleholder Monaco 4-0 in French league
PARIS (AP) — Mario Balotelli scored twice as Nice gave Riviera rival Monaco its first defeat 4-0 and Paris Saint-Germain an edge in the French league standings on Saturday.
Nice, which came into the game with only three points from four matches, ended Monaco's run of 16 straight league wins carrying over from last season with a fine tactical display. It was titleholder Monaco's first loss since December.
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Mario Balotelli will return home to Italy in the pick of the UEFA Champions League playoffs after his Nice side drew Napoli in the final qualification round before the competition's group stage.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp will also see familiar surroundings as his side faces Hoffenheim, while Sevilla, which reached last season's round of 16, takes on Champions League newcomers Istanbul Basakeshir of Turkey.
NICE, France (AP) — Mario Balotelli's first-half goal was only enough for Nice to draw 1-1 against Ajax in a Champions League third qualifying round, first-leg game on Wednesday.
Balotelli, the former Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool forward, was well placed to score into an empty net in the 32nd minute from Jean Seri's pass across goal after a surging run.
Italy coach Ventura to talk to Balotelli before naming squad
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura will talk to forward Mario Balotelli about the possibility of joining the team before the Azzurri's next set of matches in March.
Balotelli has revived his career in France, scoring eight goals in as many matches for Nice, but has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup.
Balotelli misses penalty but French leader Nice beats Lyon
PARIS (AP) — Mario Balotelli missed a late penalty for French league leader Nice, shortly after appearing to aim a kiss at the Lyon bench in a dominant 2-0 win on Friday night.
The win moved Nice four points clear of Monaco, which lost 3-1 at Toulouse despite scoring first, and 10 clear of Lyon.
Balotelli's athleticism and physical presence caused problems for Lyon throughout, even if his scoring touch deserted him.