Nigel de Jong believes Mario Balotelli is a "genius" but has warned the striker that he needs to get serious as the race for the Premier League title reaches its climax.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has reportedly become increasingly frustrated with Balotelli's antics and is considering selliing him in the summer, although the former Inter Milan boss insisted today he isn't tempted to let the eccentric forward go as yet.
The Italian international was seen arguing with Aleksandar Kolarov and reportedly clashed with Yaya Toure at half-time during Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Sunderland.
De Jong feels Balotelli, who moved to the Etihad Stadium for £20million in the summer of 2010, now has to focus all his attention on City's title tilt.
"Occasionally he is a fool, sometimes he is a genius," the Holland midfielder told NUsport. "He has two sides. Many people expect a crazy stunt of him.
"This lives in him - 'I must do something, I must do something'. Some people just need that buzz to perform. He tries to find balance. He knows he must be serious."
Mancini managed Balotelli at Inter Milan and De Jong says the Italian is the perfect man to get the best out of the eccentric 21-year-old.
"Fortunately we have a coach, Roberto Mancini, who speaks his language,” he said. "That's important for him, otherwise he was already derailed.
"It also comes from the people who hang around him. That sell these crazy stories to the newspapers."