Balotelli tribunal sparks future talk
Updated: Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012 20:08
Speculation continues to mount over the future of Mario Balotelli after it emerged the controversial Manchester City striker is taking the club to a Premier League tribunal.
Press Association Sport understands Balotelli is appealing against a club fine imposed for on-field indiscipline and a hearing will be held this week.
The Italian has taken the matter to the Premier League, as is his right, after failing in the internal appeals process. He will be represented by his own Italian lawyers.
Neither City nor the Premier League has commented on the issue but it has further fuelled rumours the 22-year-old could leave the Etihad Stadium during next month's transfer window.
His national team manager, Cesare Prandelli, has even suggested a move back to his homeland could be beneficial for Balotelli, who has courted controversy on and off field since joining City in 2010.
City boss Roberto Mancini has twice dropped Balotelli in recent weeks for poor form and voiced fears the player's talent could go to waste if his attitude does not improve.
Prandelli, for whom Balotelli impressed at Euro 2012, told Rai Sport: "Mancini is absolutely right. Balotelli must listen to him, I agree with him.
"Everything depends on Mario, however. Coaches can try to stimulate and negotiate with you but everything must start from him.
"Returning to Italy could help him. It's important for him to have continuity, the city or the country is not the problem."
Balotelli, signed for £24million from Inter Milan in 2010, has been linked with a return to the San Siro with AC Milan.
"Everything depends on Mario, however. Coaches can try to stimulate and negotiate with you but everything must start from him" - Cesare Prandelli
It has been reported that the fine Balotelli is contesting was imposed last season after a series of on-field indiscretions.
Balotelli accrued bans totalling eight matches during the last campaign and - when added to a European sanction carried over from the previous season - missed 11 games through suspension.
He was sent off for two bookable offences at Liverpool, incurred a retrospective ban after appearing to stamp on the head of Tottenham's Scott Parker and received another red card at Arsenal.
The dismissal at the Emirates Stadium in April came in what appeared to be a costly defeat which left City eight points adrift in the Premier League title race.
Fellow Italian Mancini, who has been determined to coax the best from his former Inter protege, appeared to lose patience and said he would "probably" sell him.
Mancini said Balotelli would not feature in City's final six games of the season but he later relented and the forward played a key role off the bench in the last-day title success.
Balotelli's performances this season have again been under scrutiny with the player having scored only one Premier League goal.
Last month he was dropped for a clash against Spurs for what Mancini described as a poor attitude in training and he was again omitted for Saturday's defeat at Newcastle.