Mario Balotelli eyes weekend return for Manchester City

20 September 2010 09:47
Mario Balotelli could be fit to face Chelsea this weekend after spending more than a month on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The £24m-striker has played just 33 minutes of football for Manchester City since completing his switch from Inter Milan last month.

'I'm improving, I train morning and afternoon,' Balotelli, who was originally set to be out for six weeks, said. 'I think another week and I'm ready.'

Recovery: Mario Balotelli hopes to return to action later this week after spending a month on the sidelines

Off the pitch, its been quite an eventful few weeks for the Italy international.

Earlier this month he was involved in a car accident on the outskirts of Manchester, he was then dumped by his girlfriend live on Italian TV, has undergone knee surgery, angered his former supporters by chanting for city rivals AC and fought off accusations about his arrogance.

But his main problem has been finding a suitable home in which to settle.

'If I was looking for the nicest house in the world, I wouldn't have come to England,' he explained. 'I am happy with my decision to move, but I came to Manchester to play.

It's curious comments like that have in equal measure enamoured and alienated Balotelli from people involved in the game, be them fans, the press or team-mates and management.

Hot pursuit: Roberto Mancini spent most of the summer trying to secure the deal for Balotelli. They worked together at Inter

His decision to shout a chant backing AC Milan from the window of the hospital in which he was having his operation drew particular criticism in his homeland.

'So, what's wrong with that?' he questioned. 'I said Inter are the stronger team, but if I like Milan, what can I do about it? Did I suffer as a Milanista playing for Inter? No, I owe almost everything to Inter and spent some fantastic years there.'

Balotelli continued: 'It's only recently that I understood I had to change scenery and that is what happened. I practically never had trouble with anyone in the team.

Spats: Balotelli has endured several run-ins with senior staff, players and officials during his fledgling career

'I might tarnish my image once in a while, but I have absolutely no intention of ruining my career. I want to have a great career and nobody can deny me that.

'I would not do three things if I had my time over. I wouldn't throw the Inter shirt to the ground, I would never again bite back at the fans, nor would I spend time with silly girls who just want to use me for publicity. I prefer to be alone than with such brainless people.

'Evidently I must be stupid as well, as I keep on finding these girls.'

The former Inter Milan man's most reported spat was allegedly with Jose Mourinho who marginalised the striker at the San Siro.

Balotelli insists, though, that there were no such issues.

'Mourinho and Roberto Mancini are the No 1 managers, but as people everyone has their own opinion and I have my own.

'It's true Mourinho called me before I joined City. Did he want me at Real Madrid? Ask him.

'Once he told me I was so good that he only needed me on the field for 20 minutes. But if I was so strong why not start with me?'

City fans will hope that Mourinho is right. Balotelli will find his chances improved by the recent falling out between Mancini and Emmanuel Adebayor, as well as Jo's failure to seize his opportunity up front. 

 Crock Balotelli relishing Manchester City comeback after knee surgeryPICTURE SPECIAL: Mad-cap Mario in high spirits ahead of Milan operationBalotelli out for six weeks as City's £23m man undergoes knee surgeryMANCHESTER CITY FC

Source: Daily_Mail