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Thu Apr 24 23:41:37 SAST 2014

How long can City put up with Balotelli?

Gareth Cotterell | 07 January, 2013 07:170 Comments

After being involved in a training ground spat with coach Roberto Mancini, Mario Balotelli showed why he is considered world class by Manchester City.

The Jekyll and Hyde-like Italian played the last 20 minutes in City's FA Cup tie against Watford and proved why his manager has so far been willing to deal with his mad antics. His performance, which included setting up one of the goals, proved he is still one of the most talented young players in Europe.

Mancini was apparently the aggressor in the training ground confrontation last week, which is perhaps a sign that the manager is finally losing patience with the temperamental Balotelli.

City's manager has since claimed he has no regrets over the spat and is prepared to give the erratic striker '100 more chances'. But reports over the weekend also suggested that Mancini will not object to the club selling the player.

One can't blame Mancini either. The manager has finally come to the conclusion that he cannot change Balotelli. This after Jose Mourinho recently described the player as unmanageable and said his time with the Italian at Inter Milan was a 'comedy'.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp recently waded into the conversation by saying that 'if Mourinho can't handle him then he's got to be difficult hasn't he?"

Super Mario, as the striker is affectionately referred to, flaunted his obvious potential while playing for Italy at Euro 2012 but his displays for City since then have been underwhelming.

The inconsistent performances and continuous misdemeanours point to some kind of internal battle with himself and an inability to properly apply himself on the pitch.

It all points to one question. If Mancini is no longer willing to condone his striker's behaviour, who will be?

The controversy that Balotelli attracts, plus his 170 000 pounds a week wage, is a hurdle that most clubs would not be willing to jump over.

This leaves only one scenario. Balotelli will stay in Manchester, probably sitting on the sidelines wondering 'Why always me?'

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