Balotelli in trouble after early derby fireworks

Police and fire services called to star's mansion after 'bizarre' incident

On the eve of an eagerly awaited Manchester derby between the top two teams in the Premier League, City's controversial striker Mario Balotelli was involved in a bizarre fireworks incident at his Macclesfield home which led to fire crews and police being called to his house.

Balotelli is understood to have claimed that four friends were letting off fireworks through an open window at his house in the early hours of Saturday morning when bathroom towels caught fire. The blaze spread and took half-an-hour to contain after the fire brigade was called.

A club spokesman said: ''We can confirm there was an incident at Mario's house which the fire brigade attended. Nobody was injured and he spent Saturday night with the rest of the team at a hotel and is available to play on Sunday.''

Balotelli's house sustained serious damage and police had to stop the striker returning for his belongings.

The incident will infuriate Mancini so soon after the furore from the Carlos Tevez affair.

Yesterday, Mancini unexpectedly held up United's Wayne Rooney as an example for the Argentinian to follow In a pointed comparison, he said of Rooney, who submitted a transfer request a year ago but quickly withdrew it: "He accepts everything the manager says because he knows the manager wants to do the best for the team. And if sometimes a player has to stay on the bench to recover, that's good because there are a lot of games."