Pato will return to AC Milan, says Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi is confident that Alexandre Pato will return to AC Milan in the not too distant future after leaving the Rossoneri last week.

The Brazil international joined Corinthians for a fee of €15 million, but Berlusconi has little doubt that Pato will eventually find his way back to San Siro.

“Pato will return to Milan in one or one-and-a-half years. His injuries distances him a bit from Milan, but I made a deal with him,” Berlusconi told Antenna3.

“He has gone to Corinthians, but he will come back here in the not too distant future. That’s what he promised when he hugged me one last time before leaving.”

The Milan supremo also had his say on the future of Stephan El Shaarawy, and stressed that the young attacker has the potential to follow in the footsteps of club legends such as Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini.

“We have been lucky to meet a fantastic person and a true champion like Stephan. He already symbolises Milan and he can emulate people like Baresi and Maldini,” he added.

El Shaarawy has been in fine form for the Rossoneri this term, netting 14 goals in 19 Serie A appearances.

Manchester United's Buttner set for summer loan move

By David Lynch

Manchester United are prepared to sanction a summer loan move for left-back Alexander Buttner in a bid to increase his first-team experience, understands.

The 23-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Vitesse before the start of the season, has been understudy to Patrice Evra this term, making only one league start under Sir Alex Ferguson, in which he scored against Wigan.

Buttner has been used frequently in cup competitions for the league leaders, with starts against Braga, Cluj and Galatasaray in the Champions League, as well as playing 90 minutes in United’s 2-2 draw with West Ham in Saturday’s FA Cup tie.

However, United feel a loan stint elsewhere would guarantee Buttner greater top-level experience, and Ferguson has made clear that the defender has a promising future at the Theatre of Dreams.

“We took him [Buttner] for the future and to succeed Patrice Evra,” the United boss told Omroep Gelderland on Sunday.

“What we wanted was an attack-minded left back and we see this in him. He trains very well, has a house and is completely settled here in England.

“You come from another culture, to another country at a big club. That’s a big change. So it helps if someone like Robin [van Persie] has extensive experience in England. Of course they talk a lot with each other, that’s understandable.”

A loan exit for Buttner would leave United short of left-back options, with Brazilian Fabio’s future at the club still unclear during his loan spell at QPR and youngster Zeki Fryers having controversially joined Tottenham last week for £3 million following a four-month stint at Standard Liege after leaving the Red Devils.

England youth international Tyler Blackett is a potential option for Ferguson to replace Buttner should he leave the club on a temporary basis, with the 18-year-old having travelled on United’s pre-season tour to South Africa in July, while the club remain linked to the in-form Leighton Baines. exclusively revealed in June that United were preparing a move for the Everton man, but were unwilling to spend more than £12m for the former Wigan star – £5m less than the Toffees’ valuation of the England international.

Baines has since played down a move away from Goodison Park, insisting that his sole aim is to secure Champions League football for David Moyes’ side.

Follow David Lynch on

QPR defender Nelsen on verge of Toronto FC job

By Rudi Schuller

Ryan Nelsen is set to be announced as the new Toronto FC head coach at a press conference on Tuesday morning, sources have told

The 35-year-old QPR defender had looked set for a role as an assistant or player/coach in the MLS but is now set to take over from former England international Paul Mariner as the club’s boss.

Nelsen will be reuniting with club president and general manager Kevin Payne, under whom he played at D.C. United before heading to the Premier League to sign for Blackburn Rovers in 2005.

The New Zealand international, who has no prior coaching experience, would be taking the head coaching position from a man who had just stepped into the role last June. Mariner was hired as TFC’s director of player development in January 2011, a role he performed before taking over the coaching reins from Aron Winter.

Nelson will be the eighth head coach in Toronto FC’s six-year history.

Berlusconi: Balotelli is a rotten apple

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has rubbished rumours that the club could sign Mario Balotelli, describing the Manchester City forward as a “rotten apple”.

It was thought Balotelli could have been brought in to replace the already-departured Pato and Robinho, who was expected to leave the club in the current window, but the 76-year-old has officially ruled it out.

“The name of Balotelli never came into my thoughts, he is a rotten apple and could infect every group where he goes, even Milan,” he said to reporters.

Berlusconi also refused to comment on the future of boss Massimiliano Allegri, saying he was unsure whether he would remain in charge next season, but admitted there was little chance of securing the services of former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola in the near future.

“[You ask] if Allegri will stay at Milan next season? I have to say the truth? Please, ask me another question…”

He continued: “I always tried to bring him [Guardiola] to Milan, because over the last [few] years Barcelona played the best football.

“Until last year our team had high class champions that could play football in Guardiola’s style, but now the chances that he can come here are very low.”

The Milan president was also keen to call for support from the San Siro fans and to show faith in the youngsters while they redevelop the squad.

“We are dealing with a lot of young players. We decided that we did not want a ‘top player’ over 21-years-old as we want to re-build.

“Fans must always follow the team with great passion and attachment but need to wait two to three years for AC Milan, after 26 years of success, for the success to come back.”

Milan are currently in seventh place in this season’s Serie A with 30 points from 19 games.

Swansea will sell Michu for the right price, insists Wales boss Coleman

Wales manager Chris Coleman has claimed it will be a struggle for Swansea to hold on to star player Michu if a big money offer comes in.

The 26-year-old has been in lethal form for the Swans, scoring 16 goals in 24 appearances, with 12 coming in the Premier League, leaving him just one goal behind current leading scorers Robin van Persie of Manchester United and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.

The Welsh club have stated that the Spaniard, who moved to the club for £2 million during the summer from Rayo Vallecano, is not for sale.
But Coleman believes it would be difficult for the club to turn down an offer if the price was right.

“It won’t be easy for them to keep hold of him,” said Coleman, who attended the FA Cup game in which Michu came off the bench to score against Arsenal after just 73 seconds.

“If any player at Swansea City is performing like Michu is then the big boys are going to look, and if they want you enough they will pay the money.

“As much as Swansea want to keep him, they won’t be able to say no to that. They might say he is not for sale, but everyone is for sale at a price.”

With big clubs such as Atletico Madrid declaring their interest in Michu, the Wales coach believes it is inevitable that a top team will make a move for the player, but concedes a January move seems unlikely.

“A lot of people will say he remains an unknown entity, but if he repeats what he is doing then that is when the danger will come,” added Coleman.

“That is when one of the bigger teams will probably take a chance on him.”