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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Briatore Raving About Balanta and Talking About Plans for QPR Development....Real Madrid Players to QPR?

Daily Mail - QPR chief Briatore hails Loftus Road teenager Balanta as 'the new Michael Schumacher'

Flavio Briatore has hailed Queens Park Rangers teenager Angelo Balanta as "the new Michael Schumacher."
The Rangers chairman identified the 17-year-old striker as the jewel in the crown of a young squad primed with the task of restoring the glory days to Loftus Road.
Briatore masterminded Formula One team Benetton's transformation from down-grid also-rans into a motor-racing powerhouse with Schumacher the catalyst on the track.
Now he has earmarked Colombian-born Balanta for stardom. The teenager, who hopes to make only the fifth start of his brief career against Norwich on Saturday, recently claimed he will have more of an impact on English football than former Newcastle icon and fellow countryman Faustino Asprilla.
"Balanta is the new Schumacher," said Briatore. "He is very young, strong, talented and confident. Look at Alexandre Pato in Italy [with AC Milan]. He is a teenager and very confident but if you are talented like Balanta you can be.
"In Formula One now, all the drivers are young but when Schumacher came in he was 19 and drivers like Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and Ricardo Patresi were in their thirties.
In the briefings, Schumacher looked like a baby but on the track, he fought with his heroes.
"When you are talented you feel confident and I see that in Balanta."
Briatore sees many parallels between Benetton and Rangers, not least in terms of recruitment and the nurturing of young talent. The Italian added: "When I helped create Benetton I knew I didn't have the possibility to take Senna or Alain Prost because I didn't have the credibility in Formula One.
"We needed somebody to go with us, so we took Schumacher. QPR are the same. We will be very prudent. We have a young squad and they can grow together.
"Its easy to come into football with a big fortune and leave with a small fortune. I will not sit back at all. I have a responsibility and a respect for my shareholders.
"I am very busy with F1 but I am sure I have one hour a day for QPR."
Talk of wholesale change — from moving grounds to changing managers — is unavoidable where a man with Briatore's power and financial standing is concerned.
Billionaire co-owners Lakshmi Mittal and Bernie Ecclestone represent a wealth of ruthless business acumen, but Briatore insists the club will not be transformed into something the fans would not recognise.
"QPR are very sexy — the tradition, the history of the club," said Briatore. "It is very fashionable and the last thing I want to lose is the history of the club.
"We have plenty of time to talk to the council about the stadium. We want to stay there. The location is one of the things that made QPR attractive. I don't want a stadium for 40,000 at the moment. 30,000 is plenty for now. Let's build up the club.
"With the manager, Gigi is a super professional guy. He is a transparent guy, very honest and he is working very hard. For the project we have at QPR, I feel he is the right guy to start it. I judge anyone by the results.
"For the moment, I don't have any worry because he has done a great job."

With a new Platinum club and an exclusive 100-seater restaurant also planned for next season, the future looks bright. The club recently announced a £20million shirt sponsorship with Lotto Sport Italia and Briatore revealed that particular club record deal is just a sign of things to come.
"We have more deals but we don't want to announce everything together," said the QPR chief, before cryptically adding: "Summer is very long — sometimes it is better to have good news every couple of weeks." Daily Mail

Mail - Loan Rangers clinch the Real deal - but miss out on the Raul deal
Some of Real Madrid's top youngsters could be on their way to Queens Park Rangers thanks to a friendship between Flavio Briatore and the Spanish club's president.
Ramon Calderon was the Rangers co-owner's guest for their 3-2 win over Blackpool at Loftus Road last month and QPR are looking to establish links between the clubs.
Raul won't be coming to Loftus Road unless Real Madrid draw QPR in the InterToto Cup
A Rangers source said: "QPR won't be getting the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy or Raul in any loan deals but they could get others who might fit the bill.
"Madrid's facilities are among the best in the world, so maybe some of our youth players might benefit from a training spell there as well.
"Calderon is a big F1 fan, which is how he knows Flavio."
Any Spanish imports would be joining a club who are on the verge of great things, according to manager Luigi De Canio.
The Italian, whose team are unbeaten in seven games, said: "The spirit of the squad is excellent. We need to become a team that is hard to beat, and we are making great strides." Daily Mail

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