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Serie A weekend preview

AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri believes Mario Balotelli could become a world-class player if he continues to impress on his return to Serie A.

Last Updated: 15/02/13 at 08:55 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli: Has impressed since his return to Serie A

Mario Balotelli: Has impressed since his return to Serie A

The 22-year-old has scored three goals in two games since returning to the San Siro but the vivacious striker is still not free of the off-field controversy that marred his two-year spell with Manchester City.

Balotelli will start against Parma on Friday night, given he is cup-tied for Milan's Champions League meeting with Barcelona next week, with his Italy team-mate Stephan El Shaarawy afforded a much-needed rest.

Allegri told acmilan.com: "Balotelli is a normal guy like all the other players. Maybe coming here to Milan, he's understood that he has to manage certain things better as he's at the centre of attention.

"He's training well here and he's treated like all the others. He has to get a bit smarter with the management of his personal life and that's what I advised him. I'm happy he's here both from a playing point of view and also as a person, judging from what I've seen over the last 10 days.

"He has all the right qualities and he wants to show that he can become a world class player and he can do that here."

Tenth-placed Parma, meanwhile, are looking for their first win of 2013 with Sampdoria and Torino eager to take their place in the top half of the table.

Samp visit second-placed Napoli at the San Paolo, where they have not claimed victory since 1998, while Torino are keen to avoid a vengeful Atalanta side who lost 5-1 to the Granata back in September.

Antonio Conte's Juventus return to action after beating Celtic 3-0 in the Champions League and the league leaders will hope to exploit a struggling Roma side who are without a win in six attempts.

Inter Milan might fancy their chances of beating Fiorentina for the fifth time in six meetings after returning to fourth place with victory over Siena last time out.

Cagliari president Massimo Cellino was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the matters surrounding the construction of the Stadio Is Arenas, but his side leave the drama in Sardinia behind as relegation-threatened Pescara welcome Ivo Pulga's men to the Stadio Adriatico.

Lazio's trip to Siena takes place on Monday night due to capital club's Europa League commitments while bottom side Palermo face a tough battle for points at Chievo. The Sicilians have not scored in Verona since October 2006 when, bizarrely, current Chievo boss Eugenio Corini scored the only goal of a 1-0 victory.

Elsewhere, Genoa are unbeaten under new coach Davide Ballardini but upwardly-mobile Udinese pose a stern test at the Marassi with Catania looking to wrest back seventh place should they beat Bologna.

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ou can't blame De Gea for wanting to leave, he has enough to do in front of goal as it is as well as taking on the role of Man Utd's version of Derek Acorah in trying to contact and organise a defence that isn't there.

rodger's gusset
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

I

f you want to take six points off Arsenal, then that's a great strike force. Can't imagine either of them showing much for the rest of the season though...

foot in mouth
Adebayor & Berbatov: You Have To Admire The Balls

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ooks like Real get their man, most likely at their own valuation, yet again. Resistance is futile.

paul7702
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

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