Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City boss Mancini unfazed by big mouth Balotelli

Roberto Mancini insists he does not care about Mario Balotelli's enduring capacity to hit the headlines — all the Manchester City manager is bothered about is getting his young striker fit.

The 20-year-old Italy forward has courted controversy on a number of occasions in his short City career so far.

He has been in a training ground bust-up with Jerome Boateng, reacted angrily to being substituted, ridiculed Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and claimed only Lionel Messi boasted as much talent as him.

This week, Balotelli has had a dig at Wayne Rooney, who he feels is not even the top striker in Manchester, in addition to boldly declaring City's forward line to be the best in Europe following the arrival of Edin Dzeko.

Cristiano Ronaldo summed up the feelings of many when he claimed Balotelli should “play more and talk less”.

However, Mancini is unconcerned about the player's statements, claiming they are a joke.

“He talks, but he has also scored eight goals in 11 games,” observed Mancini. “The big problem for us is that he has been injured so often. In three or four weeks he will come back and hopefully he can play well in every game.

“I haven't read the interview so I don't know what he has said. But he likes to joke sometimes and these things are jokes.

“We live in a free world. If someone wants to say something, it is better that he does. I respect every opinion. We are not in a war. We are free to say what we want.”

Balotelli should be fit for next month's Manchester derby at Old Trafford, which Mancini hinted might be one of the reasons for this latest outburst.

“Mario thinks Wayne Rooney is a fantastic striker,” he said.

“What he is saying is a joke. But United and City are in the same city, so these things are normal.”

Belfast Telegraph

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