‘Disrespectful’ back-heel sees Balotelli subbed
Video: Furious Roberto Mancini substitutes Man City striker after failed showboating attempt
When Joey Barton – the footballer who received a criminal sentenced for assaulting a team-mate – says that you are "fully off your barnet' and nicknames you 'The Renegade', it's probably time to admit you have a problem with authority.
Such ignominy has befallen Man City striker Mario Balotelli after his latest clash with manager Roberto Mancini.
Playing in City's friendly match against LA Galaxy yesterday, part of the club's summer American tour, Balotelli found himself through on goal in the first half. Yet instead of simply placing the ball beyond the stranded keeper, the Italian decided to try something different. Pirouetting on the ball, he attempted to back-heel it into the net.
When the United Arab Emirates player Theyab Awana pulled a similar stunt – albeit from the penalty spot – earlier this month, he at least scored. But Balotelli missed, the ball dribbling harmlessly off for a goal kick.
Visibly incensed on the sideline, Mancini immediately hauled Balotelli off the pitch and replaced him with James Milner.
"In football you always need to be professional,' Mancini said after the game. "In this moment he wasn't professional. Football should always be serious and if you have a chance to score, you should score.'
This is not Balotelli's first run-in with Mancini, of course. In the last 12 months he has been caught throwing darts at youth team players and been substituted because of an allergic reaction to grass.
The striker's erratic tendencies have not been missed by Newcastle's own reprobate, Joey Barton. "Mario Balotelli is fully off his barnet', Barton tweeted yesterday.
"The Renogade is definitely mentally unstable," he continued in another Twitter posting. "How do you manage such a complex person?"
Roberto Mancini is doubtless wondering the same thing. ·
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