Sergio Aguero has given his backing to Mario Balotelli and insisted his Manchester City team-mate should not be judged solely by his 'idiosyncrasies'.
Balotelli faces a four-match suspension after being charged with violent conduct following an incident in Sunday's game against Tottenham when he caught Scott Parker's head with his foot.
He has been in the headlines for a number of bizarre reasons since arriving at the Etihad Stadium, but strike partner Aguero has now leapt to his defence.
As well as praising the Italian for his qualities as a player, Aguero says Balotelli is a 'lovely lad' who just happens to have an eccentric personality.
"Firstly we all know what a fantastic player he is. And off the pitch, everyone has their own path," Aguero told The Sun.
"But those of us who are really close to Mario know that off the field he's a really good lad.
"Like a lot of players he has his own idiosyncrasies here and there.
"Everyone knows him as a player from what you see on the field. But I know that off the field he's a lovely lad.
"He's a young lad, he takes care of himself and approaches his life as he wants."
Balotelli has also received support from City midfielder James Milner, who believes the 21-year-old's antics can take the pressure off the rest of the squad.
Milner said: "Mario is good to have around the place. He scores important goals and hopefully can score a few more winners between now and the end of the season.
"Is it a welcome distraction? Maybe, as long as it is at the right time. You can always rely on Mario to set some fireworks off to get the headlines.
"He is just very confident in his own ability. He has lots of that. He is fun to have around the place.
"I don't think I have done an interview this season without being asked about him. It sums up what a character he is."