Football in Brief: Why is it always Mario Balotelli? Adebayor laid low by bug; Fernandes backs Hughes


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The Independent Football

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, who courted controversy throughout last season but did score twice in Italy's Euro 2012 semi-final win over Germany, was on the 23-man shortlist for the Ballon D'Or, which was announced by Fifa today.

Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney is, for the second year running, the only Englishman on the list. Rooney scored plenty of goals in 2012 but did not pick up any trophies with his club and played a limited role at the European Championship finals for England, who were eliminated at the quarter-final stage. Sergio Aguero, Yaya Touré and Robin van Persie are also on the list.

Adebayor laid low by bug

Emmanuel Adebayor is set to miss another chance to begin his season tomorrow night. The striker, bought by Spurs this summer, did not train yesterday but went home with a stomach bug. He is now struggling to play in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup game at Norwich, which would have been his first start since his transfer from Manchester City in August.

"He came in, he is really sick," assistant manager Steffen Freund said yesterday. "But hopefully he will be back in time. He is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. We are happy to have him back here. If you are not playing and you are injured then, of course, you are not happy."

Fernandes backs Hughes

Queen's Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has given manager Mark Hughes his backing once more despite the club's struggles in the Premier League. "Mark has my backing and the shareholders," Fernandes said. "We need a little luck and no injuries. What's written in the press is all rubbish.

"I honestly believe we have one of the best managers in the Premier League. And we are in for the long term. Whatever happens. We love QPR."