Mario Balotelli has apologised to his team mates for the ‘stupid’ red card he received against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League on Thursday night, Sky Sports has revealed.
The Manchester City striker received a straight red after a late challenge on Goran Popov in the first half of the game. The Citizens beat Kiev 1-0 in the night but lost 2-1 on aggregate and were eliminated from the competition.
Blues boss Roberto Mancini branded the challenge “stupid” after the game and said it was unlikely that 20-year-old Balotelli would be included in the squad to face Chelsea on Sunday.
Balotelli apologised via the club’s official website, stating: “I am very sorry to my team-mates in particular that I got sent off so early in such an important game. I was trying my best for the team as I always do. The ball was in the air and I went for it with my foot high.
He continued: “I never tried to make contact with Popov and I certainly didn’t want to hurt him. In retrospect, however, the tackle was poor. I should have showed more consideration but I was so involved in the game. It was not a good way to repay the manager who has shown so much faith in me or the owners and fans who have made me so welcome since I arrived from Italy. I hope they forgive me and see that I want success with Manchester City.”
De Jong: Balo must learn.
In light of Mario Balotelli’s apology, Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has urged the young striker to learn from his mistakes and has insisted the Italian has the support of the rest of the squad.
The Dutchman says the former Inter player must behave himself if he is to fulfil his potential as a striker and suggests the 20-year-old learn from the more experienced players from the squad while he still can.
Former Ajax midfielder de Jong told Sky Sports News: “He is a young boy of 20 and he has to learn from his mistakes. I told him, everyone told him. He is still part of the squad and has a lot of potential. He is a very good player but has to realise, on a professional level, you sometimes have to change your mentality. We are there to help him, not to criticise him or blast him away.”
The 26-year-old continued: “He is still a young lad and has a lot to learn. But he has experienced guys around him and has to listen to them. After the game he was angry and he was disappointed. Sometimes you make mistakes and Mario made his mistake. But he will get everything straight again.”
Razak can stay.
Manchester City midfielder Abdul Razak has been given permission to remain in the United Kingdom and play for Manchester City.
The young Ivorian had been given temporary leave to stay in the UK but was close to being made to return to his homeland when his time had expired until the Home Office voted in the midfielder’s favour and granted him permission to stay in the country.
Roberto Mancini spoke of his delight at the decision to allow Razak to stay in the country, telling The Times: “This is great news for both Abdul and Manchester City. He is a talented footballer and a very good young man who now has the opportunity to make the most of his ability as a footballer. I have been very impressed with his attitude and technique. He has been training with the first team for a while now.”
He continued: “I know a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes on Abdul’s case and I would like to thank everyone connected with the case for their efforts.
“I believe he has the ability to become a very important player for Manchester City and am looking forward to seeing him progress.”