Mancini: Balotelli has to change
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has told controversial striker Mario Balotelli he must change his ways to remain at the club.
The warning came as a leading players' union official claimed the 21-year-old needs professional help for his disciplinary problems. Mancini said he would "probably" try to sell Balotelli in the summer after his sending off in last weekend's defeat at Arsenal, which was merely the latest in a long line of misdemeanours.
Balotelli has since apologised and stated his commitment to the club, a gesture which Mancini has accepted, but the City manager today indicated actions would speak louder than words.
He said: "We are happy but it doesn't change the situation. If he wants to stay he should change his mind. I spoke with Mario a lot of times about this. I don't think he can stay here for ten together with me. This is impossible.
"But if tomorrow, or in two or three years, he changes managers or squads it is important he changes his behaviour," he added. "He has a lot of quality but he can lose it with his attitude."
Balotelli has courted controversy for his antics on and off the field throughout his two seasons at City. The Italian might also have been hit with an additional ban on top of the three-match suspension he received for his Arsenal red card had a studs-up challenge on Alex Song been punished.
Theo van Seggelen, the secretary general of world players' union FIFPro, believes Balotelli has to accept he has a problem. Van Seggelen told BBC Sport: "I think he is a good guy but he has to change his behaviour for two reasons. First he is a role model, but also he is playing in a team and he is playing against another team and he has to respect his colleagues.
"I think that we have to realise and conclude that, after all these incidents, my personal opinion is that he needs, really, professional help," he went on. "I don't want to blame Manchester City because it is his own responsibility, but Manchester City [have] their responsibility.
"I have looked back over all the incidents that happened in the last couple of years and it seems to me he is apologising all the time, but he has proved he cannot do it by himself and therefore I said he really needs professional help."
Balotelli serves the second game of a three-match ban for his latest red card as City travel to Norwich tomorrow.