Balotelli: Scoring is my job
Mario Balotelli might have been Manchester City's hat-trick hero against Aston Villa today, but the striker insists he was only doing his job.
So irritated does manager Roberto Mancini get by Balotelli's refusal to celebrate goals in a conventional manner that he jokingly declared after his side's 4-0 victory that he would like to "punch" the 20-year-old at times.
It seemed a bit harsh on Balotelli, who has now scored eight goals in 11 appearances since his big-money arrival from Inter Milan. And, as the striker explained, finding the net is only what he expects.
"I am always happy, even when I don't smile," he told the club's official website. "But I feel a striker has to score. It is my job. That is why I don't smile. I am still happy and I can score more."
Balotelli's lack of emotion has been cited as a reason for acute homesickness, which in turn has led to suggestions of a preferred move to Milan. The forward attempted to play down such talk, insisting he was purely focused on helping the City cause.
"I am very happy even if the journalists in Italy say I want to go to Milan," he said. "I am here and I am working hard in training. I want to be an important man for this team and the results are on the pitch."
Balotelli's performance provides Mancini with a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's encounter with Premier League surprise package Blackpool, when captain Carlos Tevez is expected to return after being rested for today's game.
Yet that squad strength is one of the factors which lead a growing number to conclude that City can win the title this term, and Balotelli is one of them. "We can win this championship," he said. "In the new year we can be better."