Balotelli to miss Nice-Ajax Euro decider

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 7, 2017 shows Nice’s Italian forward Mario Balotelli arriving for the warm up session prior to the French L1 football match betweem Olympique of Marseille (OM) and Nice at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille.<br />Italian international striker Mario Balotelli is determined to stay at Ligue 1 outfit Nice next season, club president Jean-Pierre Rivere revealed on June 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT

•Salihamidzic is Bayern’s new sporting director

Nice striker Mario Balotelli will miss the return leg of their finely poised Champions League third qualifying round tie against Ajax on Wednesday after limping out of the 1-1 draw in the first leg.

The Italian target man gave Nice, third in France’s Ligue 1 last season, the lead before limping off when a nagging thigh strain flared up last Wednesday, and has not trained since.

The winner of the tie goes into the final Champions League playoff round and the loser into the Europa League playoff round.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich on Monday named former Bosnian international Hasan Salihamidzic as their new sporting director, filling a role that has gone vacant for over a year.

Salihamidzic has signed a three-year contract, taking over the post after Matthias Sammer quit last July due to ill health. “He will be the responsible man for the next three years,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
President Uli Hoeness added that “there will be no contract negotiations without Hasan Salihamidzic at the table”.

Bayern described Salihamidzic as someone they know best, as the Bosnian played more than 300 times for the club from 1998 to 2007 and helped them win the Champions League in 2001.

He was named an ambassador of the club this year, and had accompanied the Bundesliga giants on a tour to Asia. Salihamidzic was however not Bayern’s first pick for the role.

Hoeness had initially hoped for Germany’s World Cup-winning captain Philip Lahm to take the job, but talks failed.

Lahm in February caught teammates and club bosses by surprise when he not only announced he would retire in June but also said that he would spurn an offer to fill the vacant sporting director role at Bayern.

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