International News - Issue 179

Mario Balotelli’s agent has opened the door to a potential reunion with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. The AC Milan striker has been making waves in Serie A and has recently returned from a three-match ban for making insulting and intimidating comments towards a referee. The latest controversy has once again raised questions over Balotelli’s future, and his agent, Mino Raiola, has indicated Stamford Bridge could be a viable destination for the Italian, who previously enjoyed a successful relationship with Mourinho at Inter Milan. .” - Full Story via Metro

Daniel Agger has denied he wants a move away from Liverpool and insisted he will be back in Brendan Rodgers’ team soon. The Danish centre back was the subject of a £15million bid from Barcelona in the summer that was rejected by the Reds, but the rumours of a switch to La Liga have refused to go away. And the 28-year-old, who has only started four Premier League games this season, hinted at the weekend that his lack of first team opportunities could force him to seek a move elsewhere. - Full Story via Metro

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Manchester United to recover from their slow start to the season and retain the Premier League title. Without the legendary Scot, who handed over the managerial reins to David Moyes at the end of last season, at the helm the champions have endured their worst start to a league campaign in 14 years. But two wins from the last three matches have suggested United are beginning to hit their straps and Ferguson is confident Moyes can still land the title in his first season in charge. - Full Story via Metro

SAFA president Danny Jordaan supports FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s call for a review of the number of African and Asian slots at the World Cup. Commenting on Blatter’s proposal that he would like to see the reduction of the number of European and South American teams playing in the World Cup and instead give more places to African and Asian sides, Jordaan said he was for the idea. Blatter argued that as long as the allocation of slots was miscued, it would remain difficult for African and Asian teams to win the World Cup. - Full Story via Sport24

UEFA chief Michel Platini wants the World Cup finals expanded to 40 teams from 2018 to allow more African and Asian countries into the tournament without reducing the number of European nations represented. Europe currently provides 13 of the 32 teams at the finals, compared with five from Africa and four or five, depending on the winners of a playoff against a South American team, for the most populous continent Asia. - Full Story via IBN Live

Fabien Barthez has shown he’s just as handy behind the wheel as he was between the posts. The former Manchester United goalkeeper cracked open the champagne last weekend after being crowned champion of France’s GT motorsport series. Barthez and Sofrev ASP team-mate Morgan Moullin-Traffort finished fifth and eight respectively in the last two races of the championship’s concluding weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille. - Full Story via Metro

Mesut Ozil risked the wrath of Arsenal fans and manager Arsene Wenger as he gave his Gunners shirt to Jose Mourinho, reportedly labelling the Chelsea boss ‘the best coach in the world’. Mourinho got the better of Wenger once again at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday as the Blues won the Capital One Cup fourth round clash 2-0 to extend the Frenchman’s winless run against his old rival to nine matches. - Full Story via Metro

Gareth Bale has given his stuttering Real Madrid career a shot in the arm with his first goals at the Bernebeu against Sevilla. The Welsh superstar had, until now, failed to set La Liga alight following his £86million summer move from Tottenham. But Bale curled one in the top corner from inside the penalty area after 14 minutes of the clash to thrill the home crowd and then doubled his side’s lead with a deflected free-kick. - Full Story via Metro

CSKA Moscow have been hit by a partial stadium closure by UEFA following racist chanting directed at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure last week. UEFA’s disciplinary and control board met this afternoon in Nyon to discuss sanctions against the Russian club after claims by City that some of their supporters targeted Toure in last week’s Champions League tie at the Khimki Stadium. Toure said in post-match interviews he believed he had been subjected to monkey chants on two occasions during the visitors’ 2-1 win. - Full Story via Metro 

In a radio interview to commemorate his 53rd birthday, Diego Maradona has hit out ferociously at his former son-in-law Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City striker was married to Maradona’s daughter Giannina and they have a four year old son, Benjamin, together, although they split up earlier this year. - Full Story via Kickoff

Emmanuel Frimpong has made the Twitter news again for making silly comments on his mobile phone. The young Ghanaian player has been working his way back to fitness after a couple of bad injuries and it looks, from the tweet, like he’d been expecting a call up to the Arsenal squad tomorrow. As he subsequently didn’t get what he wanted, he went on Twitter, and made a comment that could be interpreted to be about race. - Full Story via Metro

Gibraltar will play Slovakia next month in their first international match since being accepted by UEFA as a full member. The British Overseas Territory, which lies off the south coast of Spain, became the 54th nation to join European football’s governing body in May. There had been opposition from Spain but the Gibraltar FA won a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport obliging UEFA to accept them as a member. - Full Story via Metro

Cristiano Ronaldo has fired an astonishing response to Sepp Blatter after the FIFA president ‘disrespectfully’ impersonated him at the Oxford Union. The Real Madrid star has taken to Facebook and Twitter to issue a sarcastic comeback following Blatter’s bizarre comparison of Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, during which he appeared to mock the Portuguese international with a crude impersonation. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has already backed the club’s decision to write to FIFA to complain about Blatter’s remarks, describing the comments as showing a ‘lack of respect’. - Full Story via Metro

Toronto FC have offered Jermain Defoe an unlikely passage out of Tottenham to Major League Soccer. The Canadian outfit – playing in the United States’ MLS – are coached by former Spurs and QPR defender Ryan Nelsen, and the New Zealander admits he’d jump at the chance to link up with the forward if given the chance. Defoe is currently struggling to break into Andre Villas-Boas’ first-team at Spurs, and with places in England’s World Cup 2014 squad up for grabs, the 31-year-old may be forced to consider his future if his circumstances don’t change. - Full Story via Metro

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has defended his decision to play Sergio Ramos out of position in the 2-1 loss to fierce rivals Barcelona last Saturday. Ramos, who typically operates in the heart of defence, was deployed as a holding midfielder in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou. - Full Story via Kickoff

Andrey Arshavin has stuck the boot into fans of his former club Arsenal – likening them to boring theatre goers. The Russian, 32, left the Gunners in the summer to return to Zenit St Petersburg after four frustrating years at the club, but has had some choice of words for supporters at the Emirates. He told The Sun: “The atmosphere was weird. It felt like the crowd was at the theatre — good seats, expensive tickets and they wanted to see a show, not to support the team. It was like there was no advantage in playing at home. - Full Story via Metro

Fernando Torres savours Chelsea's win over Manchester City. Torres was left with a simple finish following a miscommunication between Matija Nastasic and Joe Hart in the 90th minute, which saw the defender head the ball beyond his goalkeeper. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Manchester United boss David Moyes defends Nani from boo-boys. Frustration had spilled over among some home fans as the visitors maintained their shock lead at Old Trafford heading towards the hour mark and they made their displeasure known as Nani went off in the 58th minute to be replaced by Adnan Januzaj. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho 'meant no disrespect' by celebrating with crowd. Mourinho celebrated Fernando Torres' late winner - and the extension of his unbeaten Premier League run at Stamford Bridge to 65 games - wildly, leaping into the crowd where he finished the previous home match with Cardiff following his touchline dismissal. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is confident Luis Suarez will stay at Anfield. Suarez's future at Liverpool was the subject of constant speculation during the summer window, with the player angling for a move away in search of playing in the UEFA Champions League. - Full Story via Sky Sports

UEFA president Michel Platini wants expansion from 32 to 40 teams. The Frenchman believes an increase in the number of participants at football's showpiece event would be embraced by all concerned. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Robin van Persie enjoying partnership with Wayne Rooney. Sir Alex Ferguson was initially reluctant to use the pair in tandem following Van Persie's arrival from Arsenal last summer, with Rooney often asked to fill a wider role. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Gus Poyet delighted to see Sunderland edge derby with Newcastle. The Black Cats headed into a home date with their fiercest rivals without a win in their opening eight fixtures and having already switched managers from Paolo Di Canio to Poyet. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Cesc Fabregas says Gareth Bale needs time to settle at Real Madrid. Having completed a record-breaking £86million move from Tottenham Hotspur to Santiago Bernabeu over the summer, the pressure is on Bale to offer an immediate return on that investment. - Full Story via Sky Sports 

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino not looking to sell. In the current Saints side are academy products Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and more experienced skipper Adam Lallana and Pochettino says he wants to keep the players at the club and build for the future. - Full Story via Sky Sports 

Ricardo Vaz Te dislocated his shoulder in 0-0 draw at Swansea. The Portuguese player was taken off during the first half of the Liberty Stadium clash and his absence means Hammers boss Sam Allardyce's options in attack are stretched even further. - Full Story via Sky Sports