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Aguero and Balotelli insist futures lie with City

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Mario Balotelli believes he will be at Manchester City next season

Mario Balotelli believes he will be at Manchester City next season

Mario Balotelli believes he will be at Manchester City next season

Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli both believe they will be at Manchester City next season.

The Argentinian forward said he planned to ignore advice from his father-in-law, Diego Maradona, that he should return to Spain to play for Real Madrid.

Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, argued that despite all the anger directed at him by his manager, Roberto Mancini, he did not expect his client to go back to Italy in the summer.

Maradona had told Spanish radio that, in his opinion, Aguero had "made a mistake" in joining Manchester City last year, adding: "He has to play for Real Madrid." However, in the wake of a sparkling performance that saw him score twice in the 4-0 rout of West Brom on Wednesday that, taken with Manchester United's defeat at Wigan, sparked the title race back to life, Aguero saw no reason to become a galactico.

"It is not true I want to leave Manchester," he said. "It never has been true, but newspapers do love to create stories. I am very happy here and I want to continue my career here."

Raiola said that the relationship between Mancini and Balotelli -- which seemed to have severed completely during the 1-0 defeat at Arsenal last Sunday when the striker was sent off -- was reparable. Mancini had announced at the Emirates Stadium that he expected Balotelli to be sold in the summer and that he doubted he would play for Manchester City again.

In the aftermath of Wednesday night's victory, Mancini expressed his surprise that Balotelli had escaped the FA's censure for a dreadful tackle on Arsenal's Alex Song, saying he had anticipated a ban of "six or seven games".

However, he added: "If he is available, he can play and he will be ready for the game with Manchester United, but I haven't seen or spoken to him since Sunday." He has, however, spoken to his agent. "Mancini told me his words about Mario had been taken out of context but that he had expected him to be banned for a very long time," Raiola said.

"There has been plenty of tension between them but it is much calmer now. Mancini told me of his hopes for Mario and we ironed out some problems. I don't think Manchester City have any intention of selling him.

"He wants to stay in England because it will be good for his career and, when he does come back to Italy, he will want to leave as a winner."

Raiola added that he would also be meeting Manchester United to discuss the future of Paul Pogba. The club's 19-year-old midfielder, hailed as a new Patrick Vieira, is said to be interested in a move to Juventus.

"It is a decision which will affect the rest of his career," Raiola said. "He has got to take his time over it."

The victory over West Brom and Manchester United's unexpected loss at Wigan is likely to ensure that the derby is not the coronation it was expected to be.

"I had the feeling they were losing because our supporters were giving us the message that Wigan had scored," said Aguero. "It is important now to go to Norwich and win. When United come here, then we'll see." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent