Balotelli could be Santa

City boss confident enigmatic striker was in team hotel on Saturday

Mario Balotelli: Rumours have suggested the striker has been handing out money

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini laughed at suggestions Mario Balotelli has been impersonating Father Christmas and suggested anything is possible with the unpredictable striker.

Prior to Sunday's win over Arsenal, there had been yet another rumour about the colourful off-field life of Italian.

This time, speculation claimed he was out in Manchester on Saturday night dressed as Santa Clause, handing out money to passers-by.

But Mancini said: "I don't know - with Mario it is possible! We should ask him. It could be, I don't know.

"I don't know - with Mario it is possible! We should ask him. It could be, I don't know."

Roberto Mancini

Quotes of the week

"But he was in the hotel and it was forbidden to bring fireworks!"


The win returned City to the summit of the Premier League and when it was pointed out they could now be top at Christmas for the first time since 1929, Mancini said: "We want to stay at the top for a long time, not only Christmas."

City had a number of chances before finally going ahead after 53 minutes through David Silva against Arsenal.

Sergio Aguero had fired over and then forced a save from Wojciech Szczesny, who also denied Balotelli.

Silva slid in his sixth goal of the season after Balotelli had another shot saved and Pablo Zabaleta then hit the post.

But Arsenal also tested Joe Hart and had a penalty appeal for handball against Micah Richards turned down.