Bad Boy Balotelli in last chance saloon

So The Sun has reported this morning that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has had yet another falling out with manager Roberto Mancini. His clip of Carlos Tevez’s heels, followed by a foul mouthed tirade on the City captain, in training is the most recent in profound misdemeanours committed by the fiery Italian. Throwing darts at youth team players, an attempt to take off Dynamo Kiev’s Goran Popov’s head in the Europa League and a training ground bust-up with team mate Jerome Boateng has left Mancini’s hair turning greyer each and every day.

Twelve games into Balotelli’s debut English season has gifted City with six goals but with a disciplinary record to rival that of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira (nine yellows and two reds) patience with players and fans for the feisty Italian may be wearing thinner than ever before. It is a rather unfortunate reputation that Balotelli has built up for himself. At 20 years old, he has the world at his feet. Talent is bursting from the seams with the young striker and he has the ability to become one of the worlds’ best.

His mentality needs to be sorted out however. Striking out at team-mates, including throwing darts at players who need a decent role model to progress as a professional (fortunately nobody was hurt in the incident), isn’t the way to impress your manager especially if he is the man who has, to an extent, put his job on the line to sign you.

It appears the only member of staff that has faith in Balotelli has finally lost his nerve with £24m summer signing. Reports suggest Mancini gave Balotelli a dressing down long after the players had made their way to the changing rooms. The picture The Sun used also suggest Mancini has given him one more chance to prove himself in the City shirt or he’s off. Prior to yesterday’s training session, Mancini even told reporters that Balotelli is willing to change his behaviour on and off the pitch for the last two months of the season. Judging from this story, I very much doubt that’s the case.

In fact, I believe it is only a matter of time before he commits another puzzling offense that see’s him shipped out of Manchester in the summer. Already dropped by the national side, I can see Mancini axing him from the City starting XI no matter how appalling the offense may be.

Balotelli himself has admitted that he needs to improve his attitude if he is to develop into the world class striker fans and pundits alike know he can be. Following the Dynamo Kiev game, he even confessed that a meeting with Ronaldo (the Brazilian legend not the Portuguese winker) would cause him to alter his footballing approach and set him on the straight and narrow path. If I were City, I would get straight on the phone and give him a call, pleading he come to Manchester to sort out Balotelli’s mental state of mind.

If things don’t improve quickly for Balotelli, City will be shipping him out in the summer and he will forever be remembered as an expensive flop during his Premier League stint. With AC Milan willing to take him onboard, City would be fools to turn down a foolish offer from the Italian giants.

Yet with one final warning appearing to be set in stone for Balotelli, we may see a different, sane side from the temperamental youngster in an increasingly important run in for Manchester City.

Ben McAleer

Follow Ben on Twitter @BenMcAleer1

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