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    Ex-Man City and Liverpool star Mario Balotelli almost choked to death after tomato ketchup blunder

    MARIO BALOTELLI almost choked to death while on club duty – after confusing tomato ketchup with red-hot chili sauce.The former Manchester City and Liverpool madcap has figured in a series of crazy antics throughout his career.Mario Balotelli nearly choked to death after a mix-up involving tomato ketchupCredit: GettyAnd Balotelli’s one-time clubmate Florian Thauvin has now revealed the Italy striker made himself ill with an accidental overdose of harissa.The powerful North African condiment is made from fiery chilis, spices, herbs, seeds and oil.Ex-Newcastle winger Thauvin was with Marseille when Balotelli joined the Ligue 1 club in 2019.Thauvin, 31, recalled: “Mario Balotelli signed for Marseille.  We were on a pre-match training camp, and having a meal.READ MORE IN FOOTBALL”At that time Adil Rami was at the club, and he always asked for there to be harissa on the table.”So the chef always used to put out a bowl of harissa for Adil.  Balotelli showed up.”It was his first pre-match camp with the club, and everything was new for him.”As the good Italian he is, he helped himself to pasta. He thought the harissa was tomato sauce.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKER”He began plastering the harissa over his pasta – he took a big helping of it.”Us other players looked at one another, and thought: ‘That’s hot stuff – and he’s taken a lot of it.’Watch topless Balotelli throw his shirt at window on live stream then rage at streamer ‘aren’t you ashamed to say that?'”We thought he knew what he was doing.  We didn’t know him, so we felt he knew and that there was no problem.”Mario began to eat, but inside five minutes he was weeping and the sweat was pouring down his face.”All the players wished him welcome to the club.  We were crying with laughter – it was exceptional.”As the good Italian he is, he helped himself to pasta. He thought the harissa was tomato sauce.Thauvin on BalotelliBalotelli, 33, is now in his second spell with Turkish club Adana Demirspor.He won the Premier League with Manchester City after a £16million move from Inter Milan in 2010.However the striker fared less well at Liverpool, scoring just four goals in 28 games for the Reds.Capped 36 times, Balotelli has also played for AC Milan, Nice, Brescia, Monza and Swiss club Sion.Mario Balotelli’s career statsThose numbers in full:

    Lumezzane, 2005-2006: 2 games, 0 goals

    Inter Milan, 2006-2010: 86 games, 28 goals

    Man City, 2010-2013: 80 games, 30 goals

    AC Milan, 2013-2014: 54 games, 30 goals

    Liverpool, 2014-2015: 28 games, 4 goals

    AC Milan, 2015-2016: 23 games, 3 goals

    Nice, 2016-2018: 76 games, 43 goals

    Marseille, 2018-2019: 15 games, 8 goals

    Brescia, 2019-2020: 19 games, 5 goals

    Monza, 2020-2021: 14 games, 6 goals

    Adana Demirspor, 2021-2022: 35 games, 19 goals

    Sion, 2023-2023: 19 games, 6 goals

    Adana Demirspor, 11 games, 7 goals

    Italy, 2010-2018: 36 games, 14 goals

    Trophies: Serie A x3, Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup, Champions League (Inter Milan); Premier League, FA Cup (Man City) More

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    Pep Guardiola warns Man City in ‘big, big trouble’ as he faces selection dilemma after star man asked for a rest

    PEP GUARDIOLA claims Manchester City are in “big, big trouble” due to fitness concerns amid a hectic schedule.Following City’s 3-3 draw with Real Madrid earlier this week, Rodri admitted he desperately needed a rest having already played almost 3,500 minutes of football this season.Pep Guardiola claims Man City are in ‘big trouble’Credit: AFPRodri revealed he needs a rest amid City’s hectic scheduleCredit: GettyHe said: “I do need a rest. Let’s see how we speak, how we live the situation.”Sometimes it is what it is. I need to adjust but rest is something we are planning.”Rodri could be handed a break when City host Luton this weekend.But with Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden all concerns ahead of the clash, Guardiola suggested he may be forced to play.Read More on FootballThe City boss said: “I didn’t speak with him but if he needs a rest he will have rest. Or no. I don’t know.”I have the feeling that the games when he was tired like against Crystal Palace and Madrid, he was better in the second half.”He runs more and was more precise in the second half than the first. More than the physicality, it is a case of spending mental energy.”Playing every three days, three days. Of course he’s tired, playing a lot of minutes. Rodri is so important for us and we’ll decide tomorrow what we have to do.Most read in FootballCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERS”If a player doesn’t want to play then he’s not going to play. Simple. Another one will play. If he’s exhausted, it can happen and another player is going to play.”It’s not just Rodri. I’d love to rest central defenders but we don’t have them. In the [international] friendly games they were injured and we are in big, big trouble. So they cannot rest.”Man City boss Pep Guardiola says top-class Phil Foden can do whatever he wants in footballWalker and John Stones both suffered injuries while on international duty with England last month.While Stones returned to action earlier this month, Walker is yet to get back to full fitness.Discussing the full-back’s current situation, Guardiola added: “I don’t know right now. Honestly I would tell you.”Josko [Gvardiol] was a doubt for Madrid, but our physios did an incredible job, and he could play.”Man City face Luton at 3pm on Saturday before hosting Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg on Wednesday. More

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    Jamal Musiala set for blockbuster Premier League transfer with club a ‘step ahead’ of rivals

    JAMAL MUSIALA could be heading to the Premier League amid concerns about the direction of Bayern Munich.The 21-year-old has become one of the most highly-rated young stars in European football since his move to Germany.Jamal Musiala could be heading to the Premier LeagueCredit: GettyAfter four seasons as part of the first team fold at Bayern Munich it looks as though Musiala could be ready to bring an end to his time in Bavaria.According to the Independent, the German international has shown little inclination to extend his deal with the club which is set to expire in 2026.The midfielder is said to want guarantees over Bayern’s ability to compete after what has been a frustrating season for the Bundesliga club.Coupled with his high value there is understood to be a belief amongst other clubs that the star will be available to purchase either this summer or the next.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLIt is claimed that Manchester City are leading the charge in terms of potential suitors with the treble winners hoping to add attacking reinforcements to their side.They have already been linked with a move for Crystal Palace star Michael Olise and it’s rumoured they may to reignite their interest in West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta after a failed bid in the summer.The arrival or Musiala could reportedly mean City are forced to sell another high-profile player to make the deal more affordable.Other clubs are said to remain in the race to sign Musiala despite City being a step ahead as things stand.Most read in FootballCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERSFellow Premier League club Liverpool are one side who could push to force a deal while PSG, while Barcelona have also got a keen eye on the talent.Musiala himself is said to favour a move to the Premier League after growing up in west London and spending time on the books at both Southampton and Chelsea during his youth days.Young stars set to shine at Euro 2024He has been a crucial cog in Thomas Tuchel’s under performing machine at Bayern Munich this season scoring 10 goals and registering six assists in his 23 league appearances.This summer’s Euros with Germany – the national side he chose to represent over England when he was 17 – will be another opportunity for him to show what he can do ahead of a potential move. More

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    Arsenal fall behind Premier League rivals in transfer race for Brazilian wonderkid Gustavinho as £18m bid is prepared

    MANCHESTER CITY look set to swoop on the freshest talent coming out of Gremio — the Brazilian club that brought ex-Barcelona star Ronaldinho to the attention of the world.City are positioning themselves ahead of Premier League title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal in the race to sign 18-year-old attacking midfielder Gustavo Nunes.Manchester City are ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal to sign Gremio teen Gustavo NunesCredit: AlamyGustavinho, as Gremio fans have dubbed him, only made his senior debut in February after impressing for the Porto Alegre club’s youth team at the prestigious Copa Sao Paulo de Juniores.He scored three goals during Gremio’s run to the last 16 of that competition and instantly caught the eye of five English clubs.Reports in Brazil claim Wolverhampton Wanderers and Norwich City, alongside the Premier League’s top three, have also enquired about the teenager.Gremio are not ready to part with their young revelation, who recently renewed his contract until the end of 2028.But GZH Portal states the player’s agents have been informed that City will submit an offer of £18m for Gustavinho as soon as the summer transfer window opens.Gremio, who own 70% of his economic rights, are looking for a higher fee and may wait to see if any other European clubs are ready to rival City’s interest.The Manchester club, who have established a network of clubs across South America that includes Brazilian top-flight outfit Bahia, have increasingly been targeting talent in the region.Last January they snapped up Argentine playmaker Claudio Etcheverri from River Plate, the club they raided for Julian Alvarez in 2022.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERHow Arteta made Arsenal horrible again, with Tony Pulis tactic and gentle star turned into Diego Costa-style hate figureBy Dave Kidd
    BOTTLERS, chokers, shandy-drinking southern softies.
    These were the charges levelled at Arsenal when they blew the title last season.
    And even if the actual reason they failed was because William Saliba got injured and Rob Holding had to start, Mikel Arteta clearly took those accusations to heart.
    If his team are not crowned champions next month, the Gunners boss has categorically ensured that they won’t go down being accused of nicey-niceyness.
    Because, as well as being thrillingly entertaining and free-scoring when they want to be, this season’s Arsenal are also thoroughly horrible.They are not here to make friends. They are not interested in being anybody’s second-favourite team.
    And so, six days after stink-bombing the Etihad with a display of Mourinho-esque anti-football for a 0-0 draw, Arsenal turned up at the home of former bogey-team Brighton and s***housed their way to a thoroughly impressive 3-0 win.
    How wonderful for the travelling Gooners to witness Ben White — against his former club — going down as if he’d taken a bullet to his neck when Brighton’s Pervis Estupinan brushed against him.
    White is renowned as a gentle and decent bloke, intelligent enough to challenge the zeitgeist and claim there might be things in life other than football.
    And yet suddenly he’s become some Diego Costa-style anti-hero hate figure, his wife goading the masses by posting social-media pictures of them playing a childish card game on a sun lounger after he’d refused an international call-up.
    Because Arsenal are horrible again. Even Ben White is a villain.And that might just be Arteta’s greatest triumph.
    Click here to read Dave Kidd’s column in full.
    To read more from Dave Kidd, click here.

    That same year City Football Group agreed a deal to sign winger Savinho from Atletico Mineiro for £5m up front and a similar amount in variables.Within 18 months, the 20-year-old has quadrupled in value and will become the newest Brazilian addition to Pep Guardiola’s squad later this year.What happened to Highbury?City chiefs will have a similar progression plan in place for Gustavinho, who will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Gremio greats Ronaldinho and ex-Manchester United midfielder Anderson to a glorious career in Europe. More

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    Rodri pleads with Pep Guardiola to stop picking him after Man City ace warned ‘it’s not healthy’

    RODRI has pleaded with Pep Guardiola to give him a rest as the Manchester City star battles against burnout.City’s midfield enforcer extended his personal unbeaten run to 66 City matches in Tuesday’s chaotic 3-3 Champions League draw against Real Madrid — but he has missed all of the club’s last five defeats.Rodri pleaded with Pep Guardiola to give him a rest as the City star battles against burnoutCredit: GettyAnd Rodri, who warned City last August his workload was “not healthy”, admitted: “I do need a rest. “Let’s see how we speak, how we live the situation. Sometimes it is what it is. I need to adjust but rest is something we are planning.”Guardiola may leave out anchorman Rodri, 27, for Saturday’s home Premier League game against Luton.When he was suspended for three games this season, the champions lost all three — at Wolves and Arsenal in the Prem and at Newcastle in the Carabao Cup.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLRodri has already played 47 matches for City and Spain this season — and last term he made 56 appearances in his club’s Treble-winning campaign, missing only five games.City, a point behind Prem leaders Arsenal, have a potential 13 matches to go this season if they reach the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League.Rodri felt Real were “fresher” than City in the quarter-final first leg in the Bernabeu, after Carlo Ancelotti’s LaLiga leaders enjoyed a week off from domestic action, while Guardiola’s men travelled to Crystal Palace.He said: “The media has spoken about rest — and it’s important.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERS“They were a bit fresher in the first half than us, it’s normal. But the mentality of the team to go against them and come back with those goals sums up the mentality of the champions we are.”And Kevin de Bruyne returned to training with his City team-mates yesterday morning.Haaland slapped by referee during Man City’s clash with Real MadridThe midfielder made the starting XI in the Bernabeu but ended up on the bench before kick-off after being sick in the dressing room.It was believed to be food poisoning rather than a virus. City hope he should be fine to face Luton.How the title run-ins compareIt’s going to go right down to the wire with just one point separating the top three – but how do Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City’s run-ins compare?
    ARSENAL: Aston Villa (H), Wolves (A) Chelsea (H), Spurs (A), Bournemouth (H), Man Utd (A) and Everton (H)
    LIVERPOOL: Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (A), Everton (A), West Ham (A), Tottenham (H), Aston Villa (A), Wolves (H)
    MAN CITY: Luton (H), Brighton (A), Nottingham Forest (A), Wolves (H), Fulham (A), West Ham (H) and Tottenham (A TBC) More

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    Phil Foden looks distraught as he hobbles off injured in worrying scenes during Man City’s clash vs Real Madrid

    PHIL FODEN was distraught after being subbed off in the 87th minute of Manchester City’s clash with Real Madrid.The 23-year-old midfielder was hobbling as he was withdrawn, which will concern City fans going into the business end of the season.Foden was not happy as he was helped off the pitchCredit: TNT SportsHe was closely helped by two medicsCredit: TNT SportsFoden starred in the 3-3 classic with Madrid, scoring a wonderful goal in the 71st minute to make it 2-2.The England international earned his start after Kevin De Bruyne pulled out of the starting XI before kick off.De Bruyne was ill before the game, with Pep Guardiola saying that he had “vomited” in the changing rooms.Fortunately for City fans, Pep Guardiola confirmed that Foden’s injury was not as bad as it first appeared.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLHe said to TNT’s Becky Ives after the game: “It was [just] a knock, he was grumpy with me because I made the substitution.”When asked if City could emulate their feat last season and beat Madrid on home turf, Guardiola said: “We have to win the game.”It will not be like last season but we will have our people. Our fans will be there. It will be sold out. “We need all of them, the energy during 95 minutes to try and beat the king of this competition. Most read in FootballCredit: The SunCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERS”Our people in Manchester will go for it and yeah. The people will be there. They [Madrid] will score one goal that’s for sure.”City fans will be eagerly awaiting Pep’s next press conference ahead of the weekend’s clash with Luton.Haaland slapped by referee during Man City’s clash with Real MadridThey are one point off Arsenal at the summit of the Premier League with seven games to go.They also face Real Madrid in the second leg next week. More

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    Man City forced into last-minute change as Kevin De Bruyne drops to BENCH for huge Real Madrid clash

    KEVIN DE BRUYNE has been benched for Manchester City’s clash with Real Madrid tonight.De Bruyne is unwell and will only be fit to play a role as a substitute.Kevin De Bruyne reported that he felt ill before the gameCredit: RexPep Guardiola was involved in an awkward interview with Jules BreachIn his pre-match interview, City boss Pep Guardiola confirmed that the 32-year-old has been vomitting.But it was somewhat of an awkward interview with TNT presenter Jules Breach, who misheard what the Spaniard said at first.Phil Foden has been restored to the starting line-up after being rested for the 4-2 victory against Crystal Palace.The two midfielders had been rotating in the XI, with De Bruyne playing City’s last game against Palace.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLThe midfielder shone in a man-of-the-match performance, scoring twice.That came after Foden put in his own stunning performance mid-week against Aston Villa, scoring a hat-trick with De Bruyne being consigned to the bench.De Bruyne missed the early part of this season with a hamstring injury which had been plaguing him since the Champions League final last season.He returned in the New Year and has been eased back into the City first-team, largely sharing his minutes with Foden.Most read in FootballCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERSDe Bruyne was named City captain last summer after Ilkay Gundogan left the club.But his long-term absence saw him pass the responsibility along to Kyle Walker.Kevin De Bruyne and stunning wife Michele in ad City play Real Madrid at 8pm tonight in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.The club are still looking to put together a never-done-before back-to-back treble.In an unprecedented move, Real Madrid have opted to close the Bernabeu roof in a bid to create a hostile atmosphere at their iconic stadium. More

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    Former Chelsea star Joao Felix says he ‘has convinced’ Bernardo Silva to make Barcelona transfer from Man City

    JOAO FELIX claims he has “convinced” Portugal team-mate Bernardo Silva to join Barcelona.Manchester City star, Silva, 29, was heavily linked with a move to the Catalan giants in 2022 and last summer.Joao Felix, right, believes he has convinced Bernardo Silva, left, to join BarcelonaCredit: GettySilva’s stats in the Premier League so far this seasonIn August, he seemingly quashed any talk of a departure by signing a new deal to keep him at the Etihad until 2026.But Barcelona forward Felix, 24, has now reignited that talk by claiming he has spoken to Silva who has been asking a lot of questions about the city.Speaking to Catalunya Radio, the former Chelsea loanee said: “I think I’ve convinced Bernardo Silva to join Barca, that’s all true. But it doesn’t depend on him right now.”He asked me about places to live, places to eat, safety… everything.READ MORE IN FOOTBALL”If he comes, Barca will be delighted with Bernardo.”Silva joined Man City from Monaco in a deal worth £43million back in 2017.He has been one of Pep Guardiola’s most successful signings, racking up 345 appearances, 64 goals and 63 assists.The Portuguese playmaker has won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups, the Champions League and Club World Cup.Most read in FootballCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERSHow the title run-ins compareIt’s going to go right down to the wire with just one point separating the top three – but how do Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City’s run-ins compare?
    ARSENAL: Aston Villa (H), Wolves (A) Chelsea (H), Spurs (A), Bournemouth (H), Man Utd (A) and Everton (H)
    LIVERPOOL: Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (A), Everton (A), West Ham (A), Tottenham (H), Aston Villa (A), Wolves (H)
    MAN CITY: Luton (H), Brighton (A), Nottingham Forest (A), Wolves (H), Fulham (A), West Ham (H) and Tottenham (A TBC)

    On a personal level, he was also named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2019 and 2022, while he made the Champions League Team of the Season following Man City’s triumph last season.Barcelona sit eight points adrift of Real Madrid at the top of the LaLiga table with just eight games remaining.Watch Bernardo Silva change mind on Premier League title race after Sky Sports reporter corrects him mid-interview But they are into the quarter-finals of the Champions League and will travel to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their tie on Wednesday.Manager Xavi has confirmed he is leaving at the end of the season, with his replacement yet to be confirmed.Hansi Flick, Mikel Arteta and Roberto De Zerbi are among the frontrunners, according to the bookies. More