Mario Balotelli was given his marching orders prematurely after a senseless back heel in front of goal in a preseason friendly against LA Galaxy. The 20-year-old striker, who has never been far from controversy, was one-on-one with the goalkeeper on the half hour mark when he failed to slip the ball into the net with an audacious piece of skill, for what should have been a routine finish. Roberto Mancini substituted the young Italian immediately and a row between player and manager ensued on the touchline. “I hope this is a lesson for him,” said Mancini to the Telegraph after the match. “Football should always be serious and if you have a chance to score, you should score.”
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Edin Dzeko is confident he can justify the £27m Man City paid for him with a standout second season with the club. The Bosnian signed for City from Wolfsburg in January with a reputation as one of the most clinical strikers in Europe, though so far he has failed to live up to his billing. His transition from the Bundesliga to the Premiership has not been smooth, managing just one league goal from 14 appearances for his new club but admitted to the Manchester Evening News that his hefty price tag has had an impact on his performances. Dzeko has had to contest with Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli for a starting position but may have an important role for City in the coming season with Tevez looking likely to leave this summer.
Aguero nears City?
Atletico Madrid have taken down images of Sergio Aguero from their club shop according to Spanish newspaper AS, sparking rumours the sought after striker could leave the club imminently. Aguero has been earmarked by the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester City, though the latter club are believed to have their noses just in front, after manager Roberto Mancini stated on Monday that he hoped a deal for the player could be negotiated before the end of the week.
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