Vieira goes on offensive over controversial Balotelli's hidden charm
Thursday 21 April 2011
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is misunderstood, according to his team-mate Patrick Vieira.
Balotelli was embroiled in a row with Manchester United players at the end of City's FA Cup semi-final victory at Wembley last Saturday, amid claims that Balotelli celebrated towards the United fans, tugging the badge on his shirt, and the Italian has never been far from controversy in his debut season with City.
However, veteran midfielder Vieira, who played alongside Balotelli at Internazionale, has leapt to his team-mate's defence. "That's part of his personality, that's Balotelli's charm," Vieira told Sky Sports yesterday. "I don't think it was a case of provocation, I just think he got carried away. There was some over-excitement, but I think United's players got carried away as well.
"There was more pressure on City's shoulders than United's. As a club and as a team, United are more used to controlling these types of games. For us, it was pure joy because the club has been waiting for this for so long.."
In the final on 14 May, City face Stoke, whose chairman, Peter Coates, has dismissed talk that his club might underperform in their rearranged Premier League game with City three days after they meet in the final, even though a combination of factors could mean a defeat at Eastlands would boost Stoke's chances of qualifying for next season's Europa League.
If Stoke were to lose the final, they could still qualify for next season's Europa League if City finish in the top four in the league. That would send City into the Champions League and mean they would not need the FA Cup's Europa League place, which would go to Stoke. Tottenham, who are scrapping with Manchester City for a top-four place, want the date changed.
But Coates said: "The whole issue is a storm in a teacup. Anybody who knows football and knows Stoke will know we would never go into a game not trying to win, not least because there is a lot of money riding on where a club finishes in the Premier League."
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Uefa lift FFP restrictions to leave City primed for £100m moves for Paul Pogba and Liverpool midfielder
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture