Balotelli feels persecuted and could quit, says agent
MANCHESTER, Jan 25 — Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli feels persecuted and could quit English football if what he sees as unfair treatment continues, his agent said yesterday.
The 21-year-old Italian, facing a four-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the FA after an incident in Sunday’s Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur, has hit the headlines for a series of controversies since joining City in 2010.
“I think he feels persecuted; he cannot go on like that,” agent Mino Raiola told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“We had a very clear image of his career at the beginning and I have told the press openly Mario will have to stay at Manchester City for at least three or four years, helping the club on this important project and grow as a man and a player.
“Obviously if he’s being banned every three or four games for one reason or another we cannot go on like that and there needs to be an end to that.
“So if that’s the case and English referees and the English FA would like Mario to go out of England then we would take that seriously in consideration, even if that’s not and was not our intention.”
Balotelli scored a stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot in the 3-2 victory over Spurs but later found himself in hot water after video replays showed he had appeared to stamp on the head of Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker.
Referee Howard Webb took no action at the time.
Balotelli, who has been sent off three times in barely 18 months with the club, has until 1800 GMT today to appeal but assistant coach David Platt suggested yesterday that such appeals were sometimes futile.
The club lost their appeal against centre back Vincent Kompany’s red card earlier this month and he serves the final of a four-game ban in today’s League Cup semi-final second leg at Liverpool, where City will seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit. — Reuters