Patrick Vieira defends troubled Mario Balotelli

Patrick Vieira has urged Mario Balotelli's army of critics to cut him some slack.

Balotelli has still not been a Manchester City player for 12 months but his list of misdemeanours already extends further than most players manage in an entire career.

The Italian striker was lambasted by his own manager, Roberto Mancini, for showboating during a pre-season game in Los Angeles last month and Gary Neville branded his efforts during Sunday's Community Shield "an embarrassment".

Few would argue Balotelli has not made mistakes.

However, Vieira believes it is worth remembering the former Inter Milan star doesn't celebrate his 21st birthday until tomorrow.

And he is convinced it won't be long before Balotelli is channelling his energies into a wholly positive contribution.

"People forget how young Mario really is," said the former City midfielder, who retired this summer to take up an ambassadorial role with the club.

"He is a really young boy. He will make mistakes. I made a few in my career.

"Hopefully this year he will learn from them.

"Mario is a really talented footballer and I hope he can show everybody how good he is."

Balotelli might have more competition for first-team places soon too.

Although City are maintaining a discreet silence over their interest in Samir Nasri, discussions behind the scenes are believed to be ongoing and it would be a major surprise if the France midfielder did not arrive at the Etihad Stadium before September 1.

France coach Laurent Blanc said before his country's midweek international with Chile that Nasri would benefit from having his future resolved and a lacklustre performance in Montpellier before he was substituted merely strengthened that belief.

Nasri would become Mancini's fifth summer signing. The fourth, Romanian keeper Costel Pantilimon had his work permit granted today but the third and most expensive, £38million record signing Sergio Aguero, is yet to play for his new club after spending all Sunday's Wembley defeat on the bench.

Still, Vieira is certain Aguero can have a major impact for the Blues this season.

"He has been really good so far," said Vieira.

"It was a shame that he could not play in the Community Shield but he is a big asset.

"His pedigree is really good and he can bring a lot to the football club."

Mancini still has issues to resolve, not least what to do with Carlos Tevez, who has returned to training but still hopes to leave before the transfer window closes.

It is anticipated Tevez will feature in Monday night's opener with Swansea, although under the circumstances, it is difficult to see how he can be retained as captain.

Still, Vieira does not believe that uncertainty, or the alarming manner of City losing a two-goal lead to Manchester United last weekend, should detract from a season of promise.

"We can win the title," he said.

"We have improved since last year. Winning the FA Cup and finishing third has given us the belief.

"We believe we can challenge Chelsea, Manchester United and the rest of the teams to lift the championship."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game