Welcome home, Mario Balotelli. Here’s some racism from your new club’s VP.

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If you were under the impression soccer’s racism problem is confined to the stands, let me introduce you to Paolo Berlusconi, a man who used a Tuesday political forum to describe the new face of his club as his “family’s little n—–.”

Yes, this is still 2013, and yes, there is at least one person that still talks like this, let alone apparently feels something that corresponds to the words. That he’s the vice president of AC Milan and therefore one of Mario Balotelli’s new bosses may be the most disturbing part of this story.

There are a lot of racists in this world, but usually the ones that are stupid enough to flaunt their antiquated ideology in front of cameras at a right-wing political event aren’t in a position to buy soccer players for $31.5 million. And if history tells us anything, letting racists buy people is a profoundly horrible idea.

I feel like that should go without saying.

On Tuesday, Berlusconi (pictured, left), brother of Milan owner and former Italian primer minister Silvio, was appearing at a People of Freedom party event in Monza where he said the following about Balotelli:

“Okay, we are all off to see the family’s little n—–. He’s a crazy head. All the young ladies are invited as well — you can even have a chance to meet the president (Silvio Berlusconi).”

Not even a creepy sexual overture from a 63-year-old man could offset five dashes worth of race hate.

source:  Racism played its part in Balotelli’s first spell in Milan – the four seasons he spent at Internazionale from 2006 to 2010. Subjected to racial taunts from fans, Balotelli received a brief sojourn during his time at Manchester City. Now, eight days after returning to Milano, Balotelli’s back to the future moment comes courtesy of one his new club’s executives.

While reports say the Italian media’s reaction has been appropriately harsh, it’s not a given that Berlusconi will lose his job, something that would happen at almost any other club (or business) in the world. He’s a family man in a family business, something that may help him weather this storm. And the Berlusconi family knows a few things about weathering storms.

What was it that the shirt said? “WHY ALWAYS ME?” This may be the first time we can truly get behind that message. When Mario returns home to Italy to find he’s working for a man with a plantation mindset, you do wonder: Why always him?

Who can Premier League clubs draw in the Champions League’s Round of 16?

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The dust has settled in Manchester, Valencia, and else in Europe, meaning we now know the identities of potential opponents for Premier League clubs in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16.

[ WATCH: Sane’s sensational free kick ]

The draw will be held Monday, when Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Liverpool will learn their next steps toward the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid (steps which may include a quick trip to the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid).

The Round of 16’s first legs will be played Feb. 12-13 and Feb. 19-20, while the second legs come March 5-6 and March 12-13.

Seeded teams
Borussia Dortmund
Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain
Porto
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
Juventus

Unseeded teams
Atletico Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool
Schalke
AS Roma
Ajax
Manchester United
Lyon

Manchester City can draw… Atletico Madrid, Schalke, Ajax, Roma.

Manchester United can draw… Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, PSG, Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid.

Tottenham Hotspur can draw… Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus

Liverpool can draw… Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus

Spectacular Sane guides Man City to group crown

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  • Sane scores world class free kick (video)
  • Also starts, finishes team goal
  • Man City wins group

Leroy Sane scored two beautiful goals as Manchester City came back from an early deficit to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and claim its UEFA Champions League group on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

City is the lone Premier League side to win its group.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Kramaric curled a wonderful ball toward the City goal, but Ederson tipped it wide of the far post with an outstanding effort.

City conceded a penalty on the ensuing corner when Laporte took down Benjamin Hubner in the box, allowing Kramaric to converted the 16th minute penalty.

Gabriel Jesus nearly equalized two minutes later, heading a Leroy Sane corner kick off the post. Oliver Baumann then made a sprawling save on John Stones.

Sane answered with a beauty before halftime, bending a wicked free kick over and around the wall.

The Premier League champions were much better in the second half, with Raheem Sterling and Sane continuing their season-long danger.

Sterling then led a 3v1 break, passing to Sane who got a bit too unselfish with a layoff to Bernardo Silva, who was stymied by the goalkeeper. It was an astounding miss.

But Sane did the thing himself, playing a sensational low pass onto the path of Sterling before getting the ball returned and touching around Baumann to make it 2-1.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man Utd sleepwalks in Valencia loss

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  • Soler beats Romero for opener
  • Jones scores ghastly own goal
  • Rashford pulls one back

Manchester United wasted a chance to win its Champions League group by falling 2-1 to Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday.

Marcus Rashford‘s 87th minute goal was all United could muster in the loss.

Young Boys stunned Juventus in Switzerland to open the door for Jose Mourinho’s men, but a Carlos Soler low drive and a Phil Jones own goal were United’s undoing.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Antonio Valencia was extremely fortunate not to be sent off for a horrible studs-up tackle on Toni Lato that left the defender requiring medical attention for a gash.

Valencia, the club, scored through Soler’s low drive through traffic, which beat Sergio Romero.

The Spanish side missed two chances to make it 2-0, with Michy Batshuayi mis-hitting a terrific Cristiano Piccini cross and Geoffrey Kondogbia stymied by Marouane Fellaini‘s marking.

Pogba missed a straight-forward chance to level the score when Fellaini pounded a header into his path, but the French star hit the ball wide of the gaping frame from inside the six.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Michy Batshuayi ran alongside Phil Jones, and the English defender slid to push a perfect shot… past his own goalkeeper, David De Gea.

WATCH: Leroy Sane’s vicious, bending, world class free kick

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Distance, pace, and curl: Leroy Sane’s terrific free kick equalizer had it all.

[ MORE: Real rocked at home ]

Manchester City went into halftime level with Hoffenheim at 1 thanks to a German player scoring his first UCL goal of the season, and doing it against German opposition.

Trailing via a Andrej Kramaric penalty conceded by John Stones, City hit the woodwork through Gabriel Jesus and has several other chances to equalize at the Etihad Stadium.

But it was Sane who came through in stoppage time with this stunning effort which begs for more angles.