Roberto Mancini has revealed he will ‘probably’ sell Mario Balotelli this summer, while also insisting the controversial Italian striker won’t feature in any of Manchester City’s remaining six games this season.
Balotelli was sent off in the dying minutes of City’s 1-0 defeat against Arsenal, his third red card of the season, while he should have seen red after a dangerous knee-high lunge on Alex Song after twenty minutes at the Emirates Stadium.
The defeat against Arsenal leaves the Citizens eight points adrift of title rivals Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson's side's 2-0 win over QPR earlier on Sunday, but despite the need to cut the gap with games fast running out, Mancini insists Balotelli won’t play again this season.
"I am finished. We have six games and he will not play in the next six games," Mancini told reporters after the game.
Asked whether he will be selling the former Inter Milan striker at the end of the current campaign, Mancini replied: "Probably - but I don't know. It depends, because Balotelli is a fantastic player.
"I can continue to play with Mario on the pitch. Every time, we risk one sent off, like today.
"But he can score also in the last minute," he added.
Balotelli has courted controversy since his 2010 switch to the Etihad Stadium, and cut a frustrated figure on Sunday as City’s title challenge all but came to an end with defeat thanks to Mikel Arteta’s late strike.
With anything up to a eight game ban in the offing for his sending off plus any suspension he could receive for the tackle on Song, the 21-year-old may have played his last game in a City shirt.
When asked whether he felt Balotelli deserves to be punished retrospectively for his tackle on Song, Mancini replied "I hope, before warning the Italian international not to waste his talent."
He continued: "From the bench I didn't see the first tackle but it was a bad tackle."
"I defend him always because Mario is a good guy, but if he doesn't change in the future he can lose all his talent.
"If he doesn't understand this, after two years I can't do anything. I hope for him that he can improve, that he can understand that he can't continue like this, for his future, for his talent. I'm very sorry for him for this."