fast little loans
Mario Balotelli was jeered and booed by Manchester City fans yesterday as he returned to action following a four-week absence and just two days after his training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini.
The 22-year-old Italian was given a chance to make amends as a 70th-minute substitute in City’s 3-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Championship side Watford. But while the striker was booed by some City fans, opposition manager Gianfranco Zola embraced his fellow Italian at the final whistle and declared: “He’s worth all the trouble.”
It was Balotelli’s first appearance since a terrible display in the Manchester derby and in his 20 minutes of action he fired in three shots, the final one setting up a debut goal for 17-year-old Marcos Lopes.
At full-time Balotelli was given a hug and affectionate talking-to by Zola, who managed the controversial striker for Italy’s under-21 side.
“I have an affection for Mario even though I worked with him only for a short spell. I care about him and hope he pulls through everything,” said Zola. “You can see the potential of the man. Even when he came on today, he caused us many problems. He has to find a way of mastering that potential. I can only talk about him and what he can do to improve his situation. The rest is not down to me. I am only concerned that a young player with a lot of potential can shine.”
Balotelli clashed with Mancini when he was ordered from the training pitch on Thursday after a bad tackle on team-mate Scott Sinclair. Mancini has since said he is happy to give Balotelli ‘a hundred more chances’ if he believes he will change his behaviour. But other senior figures at the club are not happy with the image Balotelli is projecting and would welcome interest from AC Milan and other clubs in the January transfer window. - Daily Mail