Balotelli in trouble again as backheel backfires
Mario Balotelli is in hot water again. Playing in a friendly game against Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday, the Manchester City striker was through on goal only to attempt an audacious backheel shot - and put it wide.
Some of the crowd booed, while teammate Edin Dzeko threw his arms in the air in disbelief. Manager Roberto Mancini was even less impressed and immediately substituted the 20-year-old Italian.
The pair exchanged angry words on the touchline, and Balotelli failed to return to watch the second half from the bench.
''I think for the player, this can be a lesson,'' Mancini said. ''This can't happen on a strong team. I hope he understands that he needs to have good behavior.''
Last week, United Arab Emirates player Theyab Awana became a YouTube star when he scored a penalty against Lebanon by swivelling during his run-up and backheeling the ball into the goal. Like Balotelli, the 21-year-old was substituted by his manager soon after.
Balotelli had an eventful debut season at Manchester City. He threw a dart at a youth player, was involved in a punch-up with team-mate Jerome Boateng and after beating Jack Wilshere of Arsenal to a trophy for the best young European player, he said he did not know who Wilshere was.
On the pitch, he scored 10 goals in 28 appearences but was booked 11 times and sent off twice.
Against the Galaxy on Sunday, Balotelli scored a penalty to give his team the lead in the 20th minute. He then picked up a through ball from David Silva to go through one-on-one with the goalkeeper before he surprisingly slowed his pace, swiveled and back-heeled the ball about a meter wide of the goal.
He was quickly replaced by James Milner, who later told Sky Sports News: ''Mario is Mario, he does some strange things sometimes
''I think he's shown since he's been here he has obviously got great potential, but he's still young and still learning and hopefully he will get better and maybe learn from these sort of experiences.''
Mike Magee equalized for the Galaxy with a superb shot from outside the penalty area on 53 minutes, which beat a fully-stretched Joe Hart.
City won 7-6 on penalties after the game ended 1-1. Goalkeeper Hart not only saved the final Galaxy penalty, but went on to convert the winner himself.