NEWS
Thursday March 7 2013
Allegri: Balotelli not 100 per cent

Mario Balotelli will not start for Milan in Friday’s game against Genoa, boss Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The January signing returned to training this week after a shin problem, but he’s set for a substitute role at Marassi.

“He didn’t train for eight days,” Allegri stated on Thursday. “And he only joined in with the rest of the squad yesterday. He hasn’t got 90 minutes in his legs.

“But I have many options in attack. Giampaolo Pazzini is well, Niang can play in that position and Bojan is in good shape.

“Also, Pazzini and Balotelli can play together in the same side in the future.”

The Diavolo will face Barcelona next week in a key Champions League game, but Allegri has underlined that Genoa and Serie A is the priority.

“We hope to do well and continue our progress in the Champions League – where anything can happen as witnessed in the Manchester United-Real Madrid game.

“But if something negative happens then we know that our primary objective is to finish in third place.

“To be honest, the less we think about Barcelona then the better it will be for us. Meanwhile, the race for third will continue until the last day of the season.”

Milan have been in fine form recently and there are even some suggestions that they could make a late charge for the title.

“I don’t think Juventus can lose 11 points against us. We also have a Napoli side ahead of us who want first and not defend second.

“Juve will win the League because they are having a great season, better than the last. Boss Antonio Conte knows that the Scudetto, at 99.9 per cent, will be his.”

Allegri was also asked about the Antonio Cassano-Giampaolo Pazzini swap deal after Cassano’s row with Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni.

“The swap took place because we wanted a centre-forward and Antonio asked to leave. Cassano behaved well here for a year and a half.

“He was an important player for our Scudetto and for the next three months before his heart problems.”

Allegri, contracted until 2014, was also asked about his future. “An extension is not the priority right now.”

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