Tuesday 21 November 2017

Balotelli 'may quit England over injustice'

MANCHESTER City hope to see more of Mario Balotelli despite an impending ban and a threat from his agent that the Italian star could quit English football.

Should hints coming out of the club yesterday that they will not contest an English Football Association charge for violent conduct prove correct, the maverick Italian striker will begin a four-match suspension tonight.

The charge, relating to his clash with Tottenham's Scott Parker in Sunday's 3-2 Premier League win, led to suggestions from agent Mino Raiola that the player feels victimised.

Raiola has also criticised referee Howard Webb over the incident.

But after losing in a recent appeal against a red card for captain Vincent Kompany, City are unsure a challenge would succeed.

First-team coach David Platt said: "The likelihood is we will be without Mario for the next four games.

"When he is available again, we will use him to help achieve what we want to achieve this season."

Balotelli, 21, has been at the centre of several controversies since his £24m arrival from Inter Milan in August 2010 and Raiola said his client, who has also been sent off three times in his City career, does not want to leave but could be driven to do so.


He said: "He would love to stay in the Premier League for a long time and won't move this transfer window. It's not our intention, let that be clear.

"It's fantastic, he loves it and feels at home. But if every week some referee (does this) with Mario, maybe you say 'that's enough' and he goes to another country."

Balotelli was charged after Webb told the FA he did not see his boot catch Parker's head.

Raiola added: "The (English) Football Association should send this referee to the optician."

City were given until 6pm tonight to decide whether they would appeal.

If they do not, he will miss tonight's Carling Cup semi-final second leg at Liverpool and league games against Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa.

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