Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists he has no problem with Mario Balotelli's liking for stirring controversy.
The outspoken Balotelli was at it again this week, declaring in an interview with new Italian newspaper Extra Time, that he was part of the best strike force in the world and that Wayne Rooney was not even the number one forward in Manchester.
Mancini remains unconcerned and he said: "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."
He added: "We are not in a war. We are free to say what we want."
Balotelli is currently in the United States stepping up his rehabilitation work on the injury he sustained over Christmas.
It could be another month before the Italian is in action again, when Mancini would like to see him perform to his potential on a regular basis.
"He is continuing to work and maybe he can come back to play in three or four weeks," he said.
"It is important he shows his talent here. For his future it is important for him to improve and this is the best championship in the world."