Balotelli and Mancini involved in training ground bust-up

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Mario Balotelli and Roberto Mancini had to be separated by Manchester City players after the pair traded blows towards the end of training on Thursday morning, after a mistimed tackle by the controversial striker, reports the Daily Mail.

The Citizens boss reacted angrily to the Italian's lunge on Scott Sinclair, and was seen to grab, shove and gesticulate wildly at the 22-year-old, before he was led away by a member of staff, in front of a stunned first-team squad at Carrington.

Mancini had been preparing his players for this weekend's FA Cup third round clash with Watford at the Etihad Stadium, prior to the incident, which was watched by photographers who captured images of the two men fighting.

The latest clash involving the former Inter Milan forward, follows on from previous altercations with Manchester City team-mates Yaya Toure and Micah Richards, and with the January transfer window now open, could mark the end of an increasingly strained relationship between player and club.

Balotelli's future with the reigning Premier League champions has already been cast in doubt, after Mancini appeared to lose patience with the enigmatic star last month, with growing speculation he could be sold in the New Year, providing City could find a prospective buyer.

Both Inter and AC Milan have been linked with bids for the Italy international this month, which would see Balotelli return to the San Siro, with the latter ready to meet the £20million valuation that Manchester City have hung over his head.

However, the deal hinges on Milan selling both Alexandre Pato and Robinho, as club president Silvio Berlusconi is eager to relieve the wage bill, before making another high-profile signing.

Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport at the end of last month: "I think Mario will stay but the future depends mostly on him. The relationship between me and him is always good, even if one day he does something.

"I love him because for many years we live together. I've seen him grow. But the professional relationship is another thing and I've told Mario what I need from him.

"The time of cheap talk is over. Balotelli is 22 years old and now it's time to be professional. I ask from him seriousness and commitment in training, a more stable private life and correct behaviour on the pitch."

Manchester City
Premier League
Mario Balotelli
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