Career warning for Balotelli
City boss says striker's career could end prematurely
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: April 9, 2012 12:20pm
Mario Balotelli: Warned by Roberto Mancini that his career could end soon
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has warned Mario Balotelli that his career could end prematurely unless he changes his behaviour.
The 21-year-old was sent-off for the third time this season on Sunday as City lost 1-0 at Arsenal.
City now trail Manchester United by eight points, but Balotelli is the man hitting the headlines for his indiscipline.
"He needs to change his behaviour if he wants to continue to play."
Roberto Mancini Quotes of the week
Mancini admitted after the match at the Emirates Stadium that he would 'probably' sell Balotelli - who is now likely to be suspended for the remainder of the season.
And the Italian tactician genuinely feels Balotelli could fritter his career away, with both his on-field and off-field issues.
"He needs to change his behaviour if he wants to continue to play," said Mancini.
"I saw in my life a lot of players like Mario that are fantastic, arrogant guys.
"But, after, they lose all their talent like this and they finish in two or three years. Mario is this way."
Mancini had stood by Balotelli throughout his tempestuous City career, but admits he is losing patience.
"He could be my son, and I understand when you are young, you can make some mistakes," he said.
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"Mario is a guy who's made mistakes. I hope for him, not me, that he can change."
Balotelli's red card in the dying seconds earned him an automatic three-match
ban but Mancini was expecting - and even encouraged - the Football Association to throw the book at the player for an earlier incident that went unpunished.
Balotelli got away with a knee-high challenge on Arsenal midfielder Alex Song that the FA are bound to punish retrospectively if referee Martin Atkinson confirms he and his assistants did not see it.