AC Milan v Celtic: I'd love to have Mario Balotelli in my team admits Neil Lennon ahead of Champions League clash
Wednesday 18 September 2013
Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, has revealed his admiration of Milan's controversial forward Mario Balotelli. The Scottish champions travel to San Siro tomorrow night for their Champions League Group H opener with the Italian side struggling with a lengthy injury list.
But Balotelli is one player who is fit and set to start for Massimiliano Allegri's side, having already scored twice in three games for Milan in Serie A this season.
Lennon, whose side got to the last 16 of the competition last season, said: "Balotelli is a wonderful footballer. Having seen him live for the first time on Saturday [against Torino], he is very powerful, very skilful, takes the ball in under pressure from people and likes to get them turned. When he is in full flow he is very quick and strong, can hold defenders off, he is a good finisher.
"People question his temperament but I would have him in my team if I had the opportunity. He is young, he has so much ahead of him in his career."
Lennon is struggling to find sympathy for Milan's injury list. Allegri described his list of absentees as akin to a "wartime news bulletin" with Kaka, captain Riccardo Montolivo and fellow midfielder Andrea Poli all set to miss the visit of the Scottish champions. Forwards Stephan El Shaarawy and Giampaolo Pazzini are also out, along with defenders Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio, Matias Silvestre and Daniele Bonera.
Lennon , who revealed midfielder Joe Ledley was a "major doubt" with a groin injury and will also be without winger James Forrest and midfielder Beram Kayal, said: "It is very unfortunate for him that these injuries have come all at the one time and it is not an ideal situation. But I am sure as the season and the campaign progresses Milan as always will get better and stronger.I can't really offer up a lot of sympathy at this stage."
TV Sky Sports 2 (h/l: 10pm, SS1)
Referee W Stark (Ger)
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Latest in Sport
Ian Herbert: Work still to do before this Liverpool can be compared to class of ’08
The worst owner in football? Vincent Tan faces fan backlash as Malky Mackay clings to Cardiff job
Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
Transfer news: Tottenham Hotspur - January transfer targets
Luis Suarez: Liverpool striker ends exit speculation by signing 'long-term' contract
- 1 Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police