Mario Balotelli: I have grown up at Manchester City this season

Mario Balotelli insists he has grown up this season at Manchester City despite being pictured leaving a strip club on Friday

mario balotelli
Mario Balotelli has scored 14 goals for Man City this season Photo: kelvingillmor.com

mario balotelli

Mario Balotelli believes he has matured at Manchester City this term, despite incurring the wrath of Roberto Mancini for being pictured leaving a strip club in the early hours of Friday morning.

The 21-year-old was snapped leaving the establishment less than 48 hours before City’s Premier League clash with Bolton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium.

And although Balotelli scored the second goal in the league leaders’ 2-0 win, he found himself in hot water with manager Mancini over his night out and the forward was fined two weeks’ wages (around £250,000).

“This year I have already scored 14 goals and a pair of penalties, and the intensity and effort I put into training this year, are not comparable to last season,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I have grown up, I have understood certain things.”

Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli dropped Balotelli from his squad as a result of the City striker’s off-field indiscretions ahead of the friendly with USA last week.

“The exclusion from the national team? I was very disappointed,” he added.

“I often say in the locker room: Barcelona? Real Madrid? For me the most fascinating shirt is that of my national team, for the feeling that I want to represent Italy.

“I’m sorry to have lost a friendly match in Genoa [against USA]. There is a code of ethics and I accept it, although I don’t think I deserved it, I had done nothing wrong.

“But to dissolve the misunderstanding, I sent a text to Prandelli. I assured him that I feel calm and I’m training well. Then I said thank you once again, because he always had confidence in me.”

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