Balotelli admits nightclub indiscretion
Manchester City star Mario Balotelli has admitted spending the early hours of Friday morning in a strip club, but insists he has grown up this season.
Balotelli continues to make news on and off the field, hitting the headlines almost as often as he hits the back of the net.
The 21-year-old has made a big impact on the Premier League this season and is into double figures for title-chasing City, something he puts down to an improved effort on the training ground.
"This year I have already scored 14 goals and a pair of penalties, and the intensity and effort I put into training this year, are not comparable to last season," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I have grown up, I have understood certain things."
Balotelli's latest controversy saw him pictured leaving a strip club less than 48 hours before their Premier League clash with Bolton.
The Italian retained his place in the starting line-up and even scored in the 2-0 win, but afterwards his boss Roberto Mancini confirmed his anger and stated he would fine the striker if the story turned out to be true.
Mancini has even admitted that he would like to see Balotelli settle and maybe even get married to try to curb some of his antics, but the youngster insists that is not on the cards just yet.
"Do I think to marry? For me it is not soon," he admitted.
"When you find the right person, it may be the time. Raffaella (his girlfriend) is the best thing that ever happened to me. It gives me peace of mind, she understands me when I make a mess.
"How did she take my evening at the strip club? Well I'd have got angry if she went to a male strippers' club with her friends."
He admits he is yet to talk to Mancini about the incident, adding: "I have not done anything wrong at the strip club, even though I was wrong to go there two days before a game.
"The fine? I don't know yet. I have to talk with Mancini."
Balotelli's issues off the field have seen him dropped from the Italian national side, with a warning from coach Cesare Prandelli that he needed to improve his behaviour.
Prandelli's stance was even backed by Mancini and Balotelli admits he was hurt to be left out.
"The exclusion from the national team? I was very disappointed," he continued.
"I often say in the locker room: Barcelona? Real Madrid? For me the most fascinating shirt is that of my national team, for the feeling that I want to represent Italy.
"I'm sorry to have lost a friendly match in Genoa (against USA). There is a code of ethics and I accept it, although I don't think I deserved it, I had done nothing wrong.
"But to dissolve the misunderstanding, I sent an SMS to Prandelli. I assured him that I feel calm and I'm training well. Then I said thank you once again, because he always had confidence in me."
Speaking about the title run-in, he feels comfortable that City will come through against rivals Manchester United, if they stick together.
"We are a big group of quality," he added.
"If we remain united as a group until the end, then United will be left behind us."