Manchester City investigate Mario Balotelli's 'dart prank'


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The Independent Football

Manchester City will today demand an explanation from Mario Balotelli as to why he threw at least one dart in the direction of youth-team players at the club's Carrington training academy.

City are yet to establish a full understanding of why Balotelli threw the dart and will give him the chance to offer an explanation before deciding what action to take. Manager Roberto Mancini will also need to be brought up to speed with the incident, as he has been away from the club. He will seek an explanation from the 20-year-old striker before discussing the incident with senior executives at the club.

Mercifully, nobody was hurt during the incident, which may have spared Balotelli from substantial disciplinary action which would leave his City future looking in even more serious doubt. The club appear to view the incident as a foolish prank. But it is the last thing that Mancini needs as he returns to Manchester to guide his side to a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Balotelli would not even have been in Manchester last week, when the incident occurred, had his dismissal in City's Europa League game against Dynamo Kiev not prompted the Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, to drop him from his squad. Prandelli said last week: "For Mario the important thing is that he thinks about his mistakes. He's aware of this problem [with his temperament and behaviour] and he's sorry for it, he's asked for help and we will stay close to him to help him with his development."