Balotelli no City slicker as he slams life in Manchester
Published 02/08/2011 | 05:00
Troubled Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli has provoked yet more controversy by declaring he is "not happy" in the city only a week before the start of the biggest season in the club's history.
Speaking to an Italian television station moments after his most impressive display of pre-season in a comprehensive 3-0 victory over former club Inter Milan, the disaffected striker stressed he is happy with manager Roberto Mancini and his City team-mates.
But the 20-year-old's admission that he dislikes Manchester itself -- a complaint that has also been made by Argentinian team-mate Carlos Tevez -- will hardly encourage Mancini to return that affection.
Balotelli gave the interview as his manager held a press conference in which he warned that the player needed to show more maturity.
"I am not happy in Manchester," Balotelli said. "I do not like the city. With my team-mates and my manager, everything is fine, but the city is not to my tastes. I miss the chance to be at home with my family and with my friends."
Asked whether he might join AC Milan or return to Inter -- the former is more likely, eventually, according to sources in Italy -- the striker mischievously replied that his home was not Milan, but Brescia.
"That is my home," he said. "(AC) Milan is a great team and one day, you cannot say what will happen. Inter again? We will see. At the moment, I am attached to Manchester."
Balotelli has struggled to adapt to life in England, complaining of boredom despite City's best attempts to provide interests for him. Among other activities, the club have arranged go-karting lessons for him, but seemingly to little avail.
Given the trouble the club have endured with Tevez through his desire to leave the club, a second striker determined to unsettle Mancini's preparations for the new campaign is the last thing that City need. They play Manchester United in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
Yaya Toure believes that match provides the perfect springboard for a season in which the club can join the world elite.
"This is a very important moment," said the Ivorian, who scored the winning goal at Wembley in both the FA Cup semi-final and final last season.
"We have to make a statement from the start of the season. This year will be very hard with the Premier League and the Champions League.
"That is why we need to start well. But I think this is the year for us. We are going to have to fight to show people we are going all the way to the top." (© Daily Telegraph, London)