Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Super Mario's Got Super Mario's Got Cigs Appeal ; 'Patient' Mancini Tells Balotelli He Can Carry on Smoking and Partying If Keeps on on Scoring

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Super Mario's Got Super Mario's Got Cigs Appeal ; 'Patient' Mancini Tells Balotelli He Can Carry on Smoking and Partying If Keeps on on Scoring

Article excerpt

THE last time Mario Balotelli faced Arsenal he left the pitch with his City career in tatters. Even Roberto Mancini admits he thought the volatile Italian had played his last game for the club following his injury-time red card for a wild lunge on Bacary Sagna.

That said, the City manager also feared the Premier League title had been lost after a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates, but we all know how that ended.

Five months on and Balotelli's future is once again the subject of speculation following continued concerns about his lifestyle.

And after he was left out of Tuesday's Champions League defeat at Real Madrid there have been further suggestions of a fall-out with his mentor.

Mancini dismissed those rumours yesterday, insisting that his patience for the Italian international was 'endless' - adding that he can even live with the player's smoking habit if he performs on the pitch.

But Mancini also warned the 22-year-old that he will have to accept a rotation policy that appears to leave him behind Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero in City's pecking order.

Regular Balotelli might have expected to push for a regular starting place for the Premier League champions this season after starring for his country at Euro 2012.

But with competition from Tevez, Aguero and Edin Dzeko, he is likely to find himself on the bench at times this term - or out of the squad entirely, as was the case at the Bernabeu.

Mancini said: "The European Championships are different. You have five games in 20 days.

"Here it is a tactical situation and one important player like Mario or James Milner can go in the stands. When we have all the players, it is difficult for me.

"It is difficult for every player, but we wanted to have this team. We improved this team.

"He was upset, this is normal for a player who can't play in the Bernabeu.

"It was only a tactical choice, because I only needed two strikers on the bench. Three is too many.

"We have four top players and usually we played with two and two on the bench, but also we have players who can play as a second striker like Yaya Toure or Samir Nasri or David Silva.

"Yes it is difficult to keep Mario happy. But he went in the stand in Madrid and maybe he can play tomorrow.

"I don't want it to be that every time Mario doesn't play, it is because he did something wrong."

Mancini has clearly grown tired of the constant speculation about his relationship with the striker he nurtured as a prodigious talent at Inter Milan.

Balotelli's high-profile indiscretions have tested his manager's patience to the limit - earning two red cards last season and another ban for a stamp on Tottenham's Scott Parker.

But it was his red against Arsenal, a game in which he also committed a knee-high challenge on Alex Song, that looked like spelling the end of his City career.

At the time Mancini appeared to be ready to wash his hands of the Pounds 24m hitman, saying: "He needs to change his behaviour if he wants to continue to play. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.