NEW YEAR, NEW YOU; TUESDAY 01.1.2013 TUESDAY 01.1.2013 MANCHESTER CITY V STOKE CITY, ETIHAD STADIUM, KICK-OFF 3PM I Love Balotelli but He Must Get More Serious and Orthodox in His Private Life. He Will Stay at City. We Do Not Throw Money out of the Window SAYS ROBERTO MANCINI
Byline: DAVID McDONNELL firstname.lastname@example.org
MARIO BALOTELLI is staying at Manchester City - because owner Sheikh Mansour believes he will come good.
Balotelli's City future looked uncertain with the striker having scored just one Premier League goal this season and his antics having pushed boss Roberto Mancini's patience to the limit.
But Mancini revealed how the mega-rich Sheikh wants City to hold on to Balotelli, despite the controversy he generates, because he believes the 22-year-old is ultimately good for the club.
Mancini said the Sheikh and the City hierarchy had no intention of giving up on Balotelli yet, having spent PS22million signing him from Inter Milan two-and-a-half years ago.
"I think Mario will remain," said Mancini. "But the future depends mostly on him.
"Sheikh Mansour has a penchant for Balotelli, because he recognises the talent and that through him the name of City is exported to the world. What also must be taken into mind is another consideration - Mario was a major investment by the club and this is not a company that throws money out of the window."
Despite reassuring Balotelli he is still wanted by City, Mancini reminded his errant striker of the need to change his ways if he wants to fulfil his potential.
Mancini has been one of Balotelli's strongest supporters when the forward has found himself in trouble or failed to perform, but the City boss is not blinded to the player's failings.
"The relationship between me and him is always good, even if on some days it gets harder," said Mancini.
"I love him because for many years we have lived our lives together [when the pair were at Inter together]. I've seen him grow.
"But the profes-sional relationship is another thing and Mario must recognise the facts. The time for giving him dispensation and talking is over. Mario is 22 and it is time he fulfilled his obligations and made a quantum leap in the way he performs as a professional. …