Featured Matches
Previous
Lille
FC Porto
0
1
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 1
Game Details
NK Maribor
Celtic
1
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Standard Liege
Zenit St Petersburg
0
1
ESPN3 FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Internazionale
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Fulham
Wolverhampton Wanderers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Colorado Rapids
Los Angeles Galaxy
0
0
LIVE 6'
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
San Jose Earthquakes
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AaB
Apoel Nicosia
1
1
ESPN3 FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Lille
FC Porto
0
1
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 1
Game Details
NK Maribor
Celtic
1
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Slovan Bratislava
BATE Borisov
1
1
ESPN3 FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Standard Liege
Zenit St Petersburg
0
1
ESPN3 FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Hajduk Split
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Internazionale
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Fulham
Wolverhampton Wanderers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Livingston
Heart of Midlothian
4
1
FT
Game Details
Colorado Rapids
Los Angeles Galaxy
0
0
LIVE 6'
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
San Jose Earthquakes
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
DC United
Waterhouse
1
0
LIVE 50'
Game Details
CD FAS
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Nacional Potosí
Libertad
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
UTC
Deportivo Cali
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
General Díaz
Cobresal
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Peñarol
Wilstermann
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Espor
Atlético Nacional
1:30 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
River Plate
Colón de Santa Fe
0
0
LIVE 81'
Game Details
Guadalajara
Zacatepec
2
1
LIVE 52'
Game Details
Puebla
Necaxa
1
0
ESPNDeportes LIVE 59'
Game Details
Altamira
Queretaro
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Monterrey
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Veracruz
Lobos BUAP
ESPNDeportes 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
Botafogo
1
0
FT
Game Details
Santos FC
Atletico Paranaense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Sport
Palmeiras
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bahia
Criciúma
0
0
LIVE 59'
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
EC Vitória
1
0
LIVE 58'
Game Details
Chapecoense AF
Fluminense FC
0
0
LIVE 16'
Game Details
Flamengo
Atlético MG
0
1
LIVE 15'
Game Details
Internacional
São Paulo
0
0
LIVE 16'
Game Details
Western Sydney Wanderers
Guangzhou Evergrande
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Pohang Steelers
FC Seoul
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Free State Stars
SuperSport United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Maritzburg Utd
1
0
FT
Game Details
Chippa United
Pretoria Univ
1
2
FT
Game Details
Moroka Swallows
Mamelodi Sundowns
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Silver Stars
0
2
FT
Game Details
Orlando Pirates
Amazulu
1
1
FT
Game Details
Saprissa
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sky Blue FC
Houston Dash
1
0
FT
Game Details
Next

Pippo keeps cool amid fury

AC Milan Jul 28, 2014
Read

Summer transfers survey

AC Milan Jul 20, 2014
Read
Jun 17, 2014

Stage is set for Balotelli in Brazil

Italy's Mario Balotelli scored the game-winning goal in the second half to lead his team to a 2-1 victory over England.

Putting aside all the frustration, annoyance and disappointment that Mario Balotelli often makes his most ardent supporters endure, the Milan and Italy striker has the opportunity to further announce himself in the coming days. After a game-winning goal in Italy's World Cup opener against England on Saturday, "Super Mario" must now kick on and become a star of the tournament.

- Horncastle: Expect Balotelli to blossom in Brazil

The 23-year-old's maturity is often brought into question by his detractors, but there is evidently something about pulling on the Azzurri shirt that brings out the best in him. While he was isolated at times vs. England in Manaus, his patience, his ability to hold up the ball for his teammates, and his general sacrifice for the team were positive aspects of an ultimately game-defining performance.

Whether is it the responsibility that Italy manager Cesare Prandelli places on Balotelli's shoulders, or the pride and motivation to perform for his country on the biggest of stages that drives him, Balotelli can use this tournament as an indication of how good he can be. The question is whether he can add consistency to his performances at club level.

While it was a complicated campaign at times last season for the emotional striker, there are no doubts about what he is capable of representing for the Rossoneri both on and off the pitch. Milan are quietly strengthening the squad while eyes are focused on Brazil, but it is still unclear at this stage whether it is with a view of building around their star man.

Speculation has previously suggested that Milan will re-evaluate their position if Balotelli has an impressive tournament, which in turn would inevitably impact his value in the transfer market.

Milan fans hope Mario Balotelli will parlay a solid World Cup campaign into a stellar season with the Rossoneri.
Milan fans hope Mario Balotelli will parlay a solid World Cup campaign into a stellar season with the Rossoneri.

However, to consider selling the former Manchester City man would be a mistake, and it is hoped that his showing in Brazil reaffirms his importance to the club, rather than focusing attention on his enhanced price tag.

Nevertheless, having removed the pressure of scoring his first goal of the tournament, Balotelli should be able to play with more freedom moving forward, and as shown at the Confederations Cup last year, he is undoubtedly one of the more popular stars at the World Cup with the locals.

Similar to Euro 2012 and the aforementioned Confederations Cup, Italy will require more from Balotelli as the tournament progresses, and his ability to react to that responsibility will be an intriguing indication to Milan supporters of how he can grow into a leader in the coming years.

Milan legend Paolo Maldini insisted this week that Balotelli has "reached the age where you should be mature," and that while it is the right time for him to give more than he has thus far, his great start to the World Cup is significant.

Unsurprisingly, rumours of an exit will continue given the situation that Milan find themselves in, with a potentially lengthy rebuilding process ahead of them.

However, Balotelli can be a key protagonist next season as Milan look to qualify for the Champions League, which is the minimum requirement, according to AC Milan chief Barbara Berlusconi. And if Balotelli's improved maturity continues, it should be made clear to the supporters and interested parties that he isn't on the market this summer.

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.