Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City Sheikh prizes 'export' value of Mario Balotelli

By Tim Rich

A major reason why Mario Balotelli is still at Manchester City is support from the club's owner, Sheikh Mansour.

In an interview with the Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport, Roberto Mancini revealed that the sheikh is a fan of the 22-year-old, who has not played since a disastrous performance in the Manchester derby on 9 December.

The Manchester City manager said he might make the bench for this afternoon's game against Stoke City.

"Sheikh Mansour likes Balotelli because he recognises his talent and he exports the name of Manchester City all over the world," Mancini said. "We need to consider that Mario was a major investment and we are not a club that throws its money out of the window.

"I love him because we have been together for many years and I have seen him grow up, but our professional relationship is another thing and I have told Mario what I need from him.

"The time for cheap talk is over. Balotelli is 22 and I am asking for more commitment in training, a more stable private life and correct behaviour on the pitch."

He added that should follow the example of Francesco Totti, who is still playing for Roma at the age of 36.

Belfast Telegraph


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