Top five: Premier League puffers

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Mario Balotelli has been ordered to see a shrink by Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, in a bid to tackle the enigmatic striker's smoking habit.

The £24million man has missed the start of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign with an ongoing eye complaint, and the Italian is facing a further couple of weeks out after he undergoes surgery later this week.

Club doctors have said that the allergic reaction Balotelli suffered to his contact lenses may have worsened with his smoking, so Mancini wants him to kick the cigarettes and focus on making a full recovery.

"I don't think he smokes a lot – maybe five or six a day," revealed the Citizens boss. "I told him it's better you don't smoke. I'm against ­cigarettes, always. For this reason my son doesn't smoke.

"It's not okay but I'm not his father or his mother. If he was my son I would give him a kick up the arse but he's not."

Of course, Balotelli is not the first Premier League star to admit he likes the odd puff! GiveMeFootball presents five other fag-loving footballers. . .

Dimitar Berbatov | Fulham

(Ben Melvin/Rex Features)

The 31-year-old striker ended his four-year stay at Old Trafford last week, penning a two-year deal in west London with Fulham.

Regularly spotted taking the odd drag, you can just picture the broody Bulgarian sat in a smoking jacket alongside new manager and fellow cigar-lover Martin Jol.

Marouane Chamakh | Arsenal

The Moroccan misfit was pictured in April chilling out with his compatriot Adel Taarabt, smoking a shisha pipe on the same evening as Arsenal's shock 2-1 defeat against QPR at Loftus Road.

Arsene Wenger didn't take it kindly, and reprimanded the striker internally.

Ashley Cole | Chelsea

A regular negative headline-maker, England international Ashley Cole has been regularly spotted smoking the odd cigarette during his summer holidays.

Thankfully the 31-year-old kicks the habit when the season starts in August until May.


David Ginola

The French love a smoke - if it was an Olympic sport they'd have been favourites for gold in 2012 - which is probably a reason why the former Newcastle and Tottenham midfielder enjoyed a puff during his playing career.

David James

The former England goalkeeper confessed to a 15-year 20-a-day smoking habit in a newspaper column in 2008.

"I spent most of my career puffing away on fags: after training, before matches and even on the team coach!"

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Manchester City
Premier League
Mario Balotelli

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