Mario Balotelli’s strained relationship with Manchester City has got so bad that the club are urging their academy youngsters not to follow the example of his ‘values or behaviour’.
Balotelli’s long-term future at City is in doubt after he flew back to Italy within hours of his poor display against Sunderland eight days ago, having been substituted.
Sporting director Brian Marwood, who is overseeing a £100million investment in the new Etihad Campus, has named other City players, including Gareth Barry and goalkeeper Joe Hart, as better examples to follow.
Asked where Balotelli, who trained with Italy for Tuesday’s game against Denmark, sits in City’s vision for producing the right characters, Marwood said: ‘It’s important (for firstteam players) to show a good example.
‘I think – and we all know who you’re talking about – you’ll always get people within the system that will not show those values and behaviours, but in the main I think we have a fantastic group of players. I look at Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott. We have a lot of players who think and behave in the right way. You have to make sure they’re the role models.’