Raiola: Balotelli isn’t suprised at all

Mario Balotelli is calm and apparently expected not to be included in Jose Mourinho’s latest Inter squad, according to his agent.

The precocious 19-year-old has now been dropped five times after a spat with Mourinho following Inter’s stalemate with Genoa on March 7.

There have been reports that Balotelli might leave in the summer, although Inter are reluctant to give up on a top prospect from their academy.

Speculation only increased earlier this week when Balotelli accepted and then tried on a Milan shirt with his name and number on the back.

Speaking to Italian news agency ANSA, Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola was asked how his client responded to being excluded again.

“It wasn’t a real surprise,” he said. “I would have been surprised if the opposite had happened.

“Evidently if Mourinho continues not to select Mario, the club shares his decision.”

When asked to reveal how long Balotelli can put up with the situation, Raiola replied: “Sure, he doesn’t like still being out of the squad, but Mario has a clean conscience and he feels calm. Actually, he feels super calm.

“Every one of us is beside him and we have never been so calm,” he concluded.

World Cup review

Word Cup is almost here, we feel it in the air. And we will review it because of our players who will play there.

Let’s start:

Julio Cesar; Lucio (cap) and Douglas Maicon – Brazil: They are first team players, without Brazil national team wouldn’t be like now, and we can expect a lot from them in Brazil Word Cup 2010 competition, specially because they’re gonna play on homeground.

Santon is in Italy national team, while Mario Balotelli not yet. Dejan Stankovic will play for Serbia in first team as captain, while Sneijder for Holland. We also expect to see Milito in Argentina national team, besides the regular ones. For Cameroon there is Samuel Eto’o.

We will for sure let you know what has changed, news and reports from there when the time comes for that. Until then, we can only hope other players will also be called up, like Mario Balotelli even if in this time, he has no future in Inter Milan.

Mariga full ownership plan

The 22-year-old Kenya international midfielder joined Inter in January when Parma agreed to sell 50 per cent of his rights for €3m.

Inter are reportedly impressed with his progress and their chief technical director Marco Branca wants to finalise a deal with the Gialloblu.

La Gazzetta understands that Inter are prepared to send Obi and Nwankwo – two of their most promising academy players – to the Ennio Tardini this summer as part of the arrangement.

Meanwhile Branca was in Brazil yesterday where he met Philippe Coutinho, the 17-year-old Vasco da Gama playmaker who will also join Inter in June.

Inter agreed to sign the Brazil Under-17 international in 2008, but Brazilian law stipulates that he could only move when he is no longer a minor.

Oriali: Bovo deserved red card!

The Nerazzurri were held to a 1-1 draw by Palermo last night and that means Milan could leapfrog them at the top of the table.

“We would all like to win all the time, we know it’s not easy, but we have a competitive squad,” said Oriali.

“If luck is on our side and we don’t have any major injuries, there is the opportunity to go forward in all three competitions.”

This week they qualified for the Champions League quarter-final, which will be against CSKA Moscow, but could lose the Serie A leadership.

Diego Milito’s penalty had given Inter an early lead in Sicily before Edinson Cavani’s equaliser.

“The team played very well with great intensity against an excellent squad. Perhaps we could recriminate over a few incidents.

“The referee had a good game aside from one small flaw. He should’ve shown Cesare Bovo a second yellow card and therefore the red. This could’ve changed the match.

“We’re used to it by now. The referees always apply the rules to the letter when it’s our players.”

Palermo boss Delio Rossi had a similar complaint at the end of the evening, though.

“Perhaps Lucio deserved a second booking for his foul on Javier Pastore. Overall the referee did well.”

Palermo 1-1 Inter Milan (Serie A)

It was fourth against first and Jose Mourinho’s men were fresh from conquering Chelsea, but their lead at the top of the Serie A table was cut to one point. The Nerazzurri had managed just six points from five games and lost 3-1 in Sicily to Catania last week. Mario Balotelli was frozen out, Sulley Muntari suspended and Cristian Chivu injured. Palermo lost captain Fabio Liverani, so Fabio Simplicio stepped in, but had won seven consecutive home matches and were unbeaten in 22 here.

Diego Milito had the first chance after seven minutes, as a deflected Samuel Eto’o pass sent him free to thump the near post from the tightest of angles.

A sliding Federico Balzaretti tackle blocked off Eto’o and from the resulting corner Cesare Bovo gave away a penalty for hauling down Lucio by the arm and shirt. Milito stepped up and converted with a powerful finish under the bar.

Javier Pastore blasted high from distance, but Inter were dominating and Milito nodded Esteban Cambiasso’s free kick over.

Palermo drew level with a well-worked team move. Fabrizio Miccoli’s inspired slide-rule pass split the defence in two and freed Edinson Cavani for an angled drive in at the near post.

Salvatore Sirigu smothered Dejan Stankovic’s effort, while at the other end Pastore’s angled drive was blocked. Douglas Maicon got his head to a smart Wesley Sneijder ball over the top, but nodded wide from close range.

Palermo went so close when Miccoli’s cross was deflected into the path of Simplicio, who at full stretch couldn’t make the decisive contact as he came sliding in.

The Sicilians saw a lot more of the ball now and Miccoli’s daisy-cutter flashed across the face of goal.

After the restart Miccoli went on a blazing counter from Inter’s own corner, but the cross took a nick off Maicon’s head to put off Cavani’s free header at the back post.

Simplicio stretched too far in the tackle and was stretchered off to make way for Nicols Bertolo. Jose Mourinho made a double tactical change to adopt the line-up of Stamford Bridge with Thiago Motta and Goran Pandev replacing Santon and Stankovic, so Javier Zanetti moved to left-back.

Cavani blasted over on the counter, but Walter Samuel rose above the crowd to nod inches wide of the upright from a Cambiasso corner kick.

Palermo now left Inter the initiative in order to strike with dangerous counter-attacks. Cavani flashed a blockbuster wide from 25 metres. The Rosanero protested on 81 minutes when Samuel appeared to tug Cavani’s shirt off the ball to take him out of another rapid counter.

Cambiasso blasted over, but Inter were fortunate to block a counter-attack with two players against two. Cavani was clear on goal when Samuel slipped in front of him and managed to clear from the ground, as the Uruguayan practically walked into his prone body.

Sirigu plucked Maicon’s chip out of the air and in stoppages Julio Cesar had his palms stung by a rocket of a Miccoli free kick aimed at the near post.