Mario Balotelli and Roberto Mancini appeared to fight each other at Manchester City's training ground on Thursday (January 3, 2012). Photo agency pictures surfacing online show Balotelli and his Italian manager scuffling, before being forced apart by assistant manager Brian Kidd and other staff.
The photographs, obtained by the Manchester Evening News, show the 22-year-old clashing with his manager after making a bad tackle on Scott Sinclair. A source said Balotelli had reacted badly after being told off for the mistiming, "Mancini ran at him - he was furious. He grabbed hold of him and appeared to try and throw him on the floor. It looked like Mario was too strong and he couldn't get him down. Then all the coaches ran in to separate them but Mancini was having none of it. He kept trying to break free and have a go at him again." The striker is said to have headed straight for the dressing room before driving away in his camouflaged Bentley. He stopped briefly to sign autographs for waiting fans.
There is clearly no love lost between Mancini and Balotelli and the latest incident will revive speculation over the striker's future. Last month, the City manager told Gazzetta dell Sport, "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."
As a player, Mancini was known for his hot-head and became the most powerful voice in the Sampdoria dressing room, despite still being a teenager. He is said to have picked fights with Trevor Francis, Liam Brady and Juan Sebastian Veron during his career.