Roberto Mancini has confirmed Mario Balotelli will “probably” be sold after another red card, fuelling speculation of an Inter comeback. “I am finished.”
The Manchester City manager has consistently defended his striker, but a dismissal in today’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal could be the last straw.
“I am finished. We have six games and he will not play in the next six games,” replied Mancio when asked how much longer he was going to put up with SuperMario’s antics.
Not only was he sent off for a double yellow card, but the referee also missed a knee-high challenge on Alex Song that could bring a much longer ban using video evidence.
“Will he be sold? Probably – but I don't know. It depends, because Balotelli is a fantastic player. I can continue to play with Mario on the pitch. Every time, we risk one sent off, like today. But he can score also in the last minute.
“I love him as a guy, I love him as a player, because I know him. He's not a bad guy. He's a fantastic player.
“I defend him always because Mario is a good guy, but if he doesn't change in the future he can lose all his talent.
“If he doesn't understand this, after two years I can't do anything. I hope for him that he can improve, that he can understand that he can't continue like this, for his future, for his talent. I'm very sorry for him for this.”
The latest dismissal is also bad news for Cesare Prandelli, who warned Balotelli that he would be dropped from Italy’s Euro 2012 squad if he did not improve his behaviour and prove he was reliable.
Meanwhile, the reports in Italy that Inter are ready to bring Balo back to San Siro gained further credence after this incident.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.