Mario Balotelli's Tribunal Is a Step Too Far for Manchester City

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterDecember 17, 2012

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has been patient with controversial striker Mario Balotelli
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has been patient with controversial striker Mario BalotelliMichael Regan/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli has discovered all sorts of ways to get into trouble during his time at Manchester City.

But, this time, the 22-year-old Italy international may just have taken one step too far for even manager Roberto Mancini to cope with.

The former Inter Milan striker was fined two weeks’ wages by the Etihad Stadium club for his poor disciplinary record last season.

Balotelli missed 11 games during City’s run to the English Premier League title and in European competition through suspension.

A tally of three red cards, including his dismissal in the 1-0 defeat at Arsenal in April, which many viewed as gifting the championship to Manchester United, and nine yellows is not a pretty sight.

In response to this plethora of cards, the Manchester City hierarchy fined Balotelli a fortnight’s worth of pay.

The Italian appealed against the penalty but an independent panel of City’s board upheld the fine.

Now, however, Balotelli has decided to take the matter further and will, along with his legal representative, dispute the fine in front of a Premier League tribunal in London on Wednesday.

No matter what the outcome of this week’s events, surely the time has come for City to dispense with their controversial forward?

Balotelli arrived at City from the San Siro Stadium in August 2010 for around £22.5 million as Mancini took his spending beyond £100 million ahead of the new season.

Mancini, who was also Balotelli’s manager at Inter, played down the forward’s controversial past when he told reporters: "He's just young and, like all young guys, sometimes his behaviour is different, but it's false to say he is not a good man.”

It took Balotelli just weeks to serve English football with notification of his brilliance and fallibility
in one game.

The Italian scored his first and second goals for City at West Bromwich Albion but was then dismissed for violent conduct for kicking out at Youssuf Mulumbu.

The standard was set and Balotelli frequently raised the bar with further acts of petulance through his
City career.

His sending-off at Arsenal in April for a second yellow card after a foul on Bacary Sagna, which followed an awful challenge on Alex Song, seemed to have broken even Mancini’s patience.

But Balotelli returned to the team as a substitute in the final game of last season and his pass set up Sergio Aguero for the late title-winning goal.

History may see Balotelli pass into Manchester City folklore, but his latest ‘Why Always Me?’ moment will not be viewed kindly by supporters.

For a club that prides itself on the traditions of players such as Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee, this is a new nadir in disrespect.

Dragging his employers into a tribunal because he disagrees with a fine is a low too far.