Thursday 20 July 2017

Balotelli faces club fine after late night-out breaks curfew

Ian Herbert

Mario Balotelli is facing a possible fine from Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini after he broke a club curfew less than 48 hours before tonight's Premier League clash with Chelsea.

Balotelli, who was recently given permission by Mancini to visit a Naples restaurant for pizza with his girlfriend on the eve of City's Champions League defeat against Napoli last month, left a city-centre restaurant after midnight on Saturday before reporting for training at Carrington yesterday morning.

The 21-year-old forward, who was not drinking, signed autographs and posed for pictures with fellow diners at the Zouk Indian restaurant after being involved in a playful sword-fight with rolling pins with a friend in the popular restaurant.

With City sources confirming that first-team players are expected to observe a curfew 48 hours prior to a competitive fixture, Balotelli is expected to be given the opportunity to explain why he was out in the early hours of Sunday ahead of such an important game.

BURNING

The Italy international scored two goals in the 6-1 derby victory against Manchester United in October less than 12 hours after being rescued from his burning house by firefighters following an incident involving the setting off of fireworks in his bathroom.

Having scored at Old Trafford, Balotelli unveiled a T-shirt which read 'Why Always Me?' in response to the scrutiny he finds himself under due to his ability to create negative headlines.

Balotelli has been at the centre of numerous controversies since arriving at City in a £24m transfer from Inter Milan in August last year.

The forward, sent off three times in his City career, was disciplined by the club for throwing darts at a youth team player last season, while he was also pictured trading punches on the training ground with former team-mate Jerome Boateng last term.

Mancini angrily substituted Balotelli for attempting a back-heel during a friendly with LA Galaxy in July, but the player has displayed new maturity this season, scoring 10 goals in all competitions. He is likely to be a substitute this evening.

Tottenham's 2-1 defeat at Stoke City yesterday means Chelsea can go back into the top three tonight and Mancini said he still considers them to be title contenders, despite the 10-point lead his club have established over them.

"Remember last year, Chelsea were nine points ahead and United still won it by seven or eight points," Mancini said. "They are 10 points behind us, but it's too early to say 'no'." (© Indep-

endent News Service)

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