Balotelli Botches Spin Goal

Our favourite Muppet of the 2010/2011 season is back for another year of mischief already.  Mario Balotelli performs some sort of half-pirouette and back-heels the ball out of play, instead of finding the LA Galaxy net with a simple tap in, during last night’s game in the States…

Oh how we’ve been struggling for Muppet content since the end of the football season.  Now it’s back and with it comes misguided Mario and his expertise in idiocy.

The Italian was named Muppet of the Week three times last season, which is a record on The Sport Report.  First he had trouble with a grass allergy, then he couldn’t quite slip into a warm-up bib before ending the season with at least £10,000 in parking fines – he’s a satirical sports news website’s dream!

It was suggested we have a separate page on the site completely dedicated to Balotelli, as Muppet of the Week doesn’t have the capacity to catalogue all of his ‘episodes’.  Sadly, we can’t allow this feature to happen because next thing we know, everybody will want a dedicated page – Tiger’s Secrets of the Woods, Wayne Rooney’s Elocution Lessons, At Home with The Giggs’ – you get the idea.

Mario Balotelli will grace the premier league with his unique talent this season and he will equally grace the internet with his ever-promising-to-go-viral behaviour.

Last night’s shameful showboating (see video here) is just the beginning and we can expect to see the striker cause so much stress for Roberto Mancini, that the manager will have no choice but to up the dosage on his Just For Men.  To be fair to Mancini, he dragged Balotelli off immediately after his lazy trick shot last night.

Balo reacted rather well I thought (by his own standards), he sulked for a while and finally through his bocky-bock to the floor – Mancini’s new assistant coach, Jo Frost a.k.a. ‘Super Nanny’, is obviously paying dividends.

Place your hypothetical bets in the forum below on how many times you think Balotelli will claim The Muppet of the Week award this upcoming season…

One to Watch: LA Galaxy v Real Madrid

It’s like you’ve selected the ‘Randomise Team’ option on FIFA 11, except it’s really happening! Real Madrid take on LA Galaxy and a certain David Beckham in a pre-season friendly this weekend…

The two teams had a sparring session last year but Beckham missed out due to an achilles injury.  This time he’s fully fit and eagerly anticipating the match, especially after scoring directly from a corner-kick against Chicago just last weekend.

His former side, Real Madrid, will be looking to sharpen their claws by picking away at the Los Angeles outfit, in preparation for what promises to be another hotly contested La Liga.   With Barcelona at the helm, Madrid need all the preparation they can get to reclaim the Spanish crown.

Some may see the friendly as a bit of a holiday-game but the Beckham factor could create a little bit of competition amongst the players. The former United star has expressed his feelings for the Spanish giants saying:

“I spent four amazing years at Real Madrid. To go from a club like Manchester United to Real Madrid, it really doesn’t get much better than that in football. I’ve got many friends still there, many friends as players and fans and throughout the club as well.”

Beckham has forever been in the public eye and the media hang on to his every word but he appeared very chilled out on the Late Show with Craig Ferguson (see video below) just last month. Still, it annoys me to hear the former England captain refer to football as ‘soccer’ – it makes me feel cheated, like Stacy Giggs, Abbey Clancy, Coleen Rooney and every other WAG who knows perfectly well what they’re getting into (apologies, I got a little carried away there)!

Speaking of WAGs, Posh and Becks have just welcomed their newborn daughter into the world and have come under some harsh criticism for naming her ‘Harper Seven’.  I think it’s a lovely name and a great way to pay tribute to Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman for what was a classic detective picture from the ’90s.

As for the game tomorrow – it is not going to be broadcast live on British television but can probably be found on a number of illegitimate websites which I would know nothing about or condone in any way.

Kick off…

LA Time: 7.00pm Saturday 16th July
UK Time: 2.00am Sunday 17th July

I’m fully aware that this is perhaps the most awkward selection for ‘One to Watch’ ever but there’s really not much else on!

Team of the Week – Man U and Man City

Manchester had a fantastic week this week with City winning the FA Cup and United clinching their 19th league title to overtake Liverpool’s league record of 18.

Let’s begin with United – when Sir Alex Ferguson took over at the club in 1986 he famously vowed to ‘knock Liverpool off their perch’.  This week, he fulfilled that promise.  In a country where promises are rarely kept (AhemnickccleggAhem), Fergie’s accomplishment is one of the most admirable in football…in a separate interview, he also vowed to chew the same piece of gum until United overtook Liverpool.

United needed to at least draw with Blackburn in order to win the league and despite a resilient Blackburn side fighting for Premier League survival, the reds managed to come out with a scrappy 1-1 draw.  Blackburn led through Brett Emerton’s 20 minute strike and a frustrated United side resorted to squeezing a penalty out of Phil Dowd and his linesman, which Rooney converted comfortably.

Wayne’s celebrations were again typically aggressive rather than joyful and it makes you wonder how he reacts when he concedes a goal on FIFA 11 (see link).  He was instantly mobbed by smiling United players though, including Ryan Giggs who claimed his 12th league title after his side held on to that 1-1 draw.

Giggs has been one of the greatest ever servants to Man United and despite his name being blackened by internet rumours involving a super-injunction, he’s remained completely focused on his football.  His love affair with the Premier League trophy is no secret and he got his hands all over that nice pair of handles once again at the final whistle.

The Manchester glory didn’t stop there though, just a few hours later Manchester City defeated Stoke City 1-0 at Wembley in the FA Cup final.

Roberto Mancini controversially started Mario Balotelli but the decision proved to be a wise one as the Italian muppet caused all kinds of trouble for Stoke City.  His curling shot from outside the box was top-corner bound only to be palmed away by a fully-stretched Sorensen, 25 minutes into the game.

Balo was involved again just ten minutes later, forcing a gap in the Stoke defence and allowing David Silva to come onto a perfect half-volley opportunity.  Silva got over the ball a little too much and drilled it into the ground, bouncing it over the cross bar.

Jermaine Pennant was Stoke’s most lively player in the first half but after going over on his ankle just before the interval, he never looked the same.  He scuffed a shot in the 49th minute when Stoke were finally amounting some pressure.

City responded with aggression, too much aggression at times – Yaya Toure studded Wilkinson in the back of the calf before Balotelli roughed up a hobbling Pennant with a shunt in the back.  Tevez missed a decent chance shortly after and Stoke replied with a sublime Etherington pass to Kenwyn Jones, who couldn’t manage to toe poke the ball through Joe Hart’s legs like he intended.

Etherington was substituted straight after that peachy pass and had put in a great shift considering he had just 18 days to recover from a hamstring injury prior to the final.

Balotelli was all over the place thereafter and was becoming more and more awkward for Stoke to deal with. His box presence was a major threat and after executing a cheeky back-heel to David Silva in the six yard box, the ball was dangerously bobbling about in front of the keeper – somehow it arrived at the left foot of Yaya Toure, who smashed it home to give City the 1-0 lead.

City typically held on to their slender lead and although they’ve come under scrutiny for too many one-nils this season, it’s obviously paid dividends and the frightening thing is – this could just be the start of a blue uprising from Manchester.

So it was a historic day for the city of Manchester, if only the two clubs could put their differences aside and unite as one – they could dominate domestic and European football and call themselves Manchester United…wait, no – that wouldn’t quite work.