Roberto Mancini ex­plains Mario Balotelli’s Manchester City exit

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Mancini signed Balotelli, who is now at Nice af­ter leav­ing Liver­pool, when he was City man­ager in 2010, but the striker only showed fleet­ing glimpses of his tal­ent be­fore leav­ing un­der a cloud in Jan­uary 2013. Balotelli's de­par­ture came a few weeks af­ter a train­ing ground spat with Mancini. "In a train­ing ses­sion, I said to play­ers not to make stupid tack­les on Gael [Clichy] be­cause he was just com­ing back from in­jury. And then, Mario made a strong tackle on him. I was fu­ri­ous," Mancini told L'Equipe. "I grabbed him by the col­lar want­ing to push him but he is so strong phys­i­cally I couldn't move him. From see­ing the pic­tures, you would think that we came to blows but noth­ing hap­pened. "He came into con­flict with some team-mates be­cause of his be­hav­iour, and he wanted to re­turn to Italy. I was dis­ap­pointed that he wanted to leave be­cause he should have done so much more in an ex­tra­or­di­nary cham­pi­onship." Since leav­ing City for AC Mi­lan, Balotelli's ca­reer has con­tin­ued to stut­ter and he has found him­self dropped from the Italy na­tional team. "If Mario to­day doesn't play for the Italy side, it is his fault," said Mancini. "It is in­cred­i­ble that he is not the start­ing cen­tre-for­ward for his na­tional side. "He is the best Ital­ian striker of the last few years. I hope Mario un­der­stands that he has to have a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude and think only about foot­ball. It is not that dif­fi­cult." Balotelli's finest mo­ment in a City shirt came when he scored twice in a 6-1 derby vic­tory over Manchester United. Af­ter net­ting the opener, Balotelli lifted his City top to re­veal a 'Why al­ways me?' t-shirt, and Mancini de­scribed him as a "phe­nom­e­non" on that day. "That day, it was like Mario was grown up, an adult, and all the oth­ers were chil­dren," he said. " I would have liked to have seen him al­ways like he was dur­ing that derby, be­cause things come so nat­u­rally to him when he wants them to. I was happy he showed his true value. "And when he showed his tshirt, I re­ally said to my­self that he is a phe­nom­e­non. Who could have thought of do­ing that? He's a phe­nom­e­non in the way things come into his head."

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