Mario Balotelli and Roberto Mancini Separated Following Altercation

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2013

Photo via Eammon and James Clarke via Mirror Football
Photo via Eammon and James Clarke via Mirror Football

Oh Mario Balotelli, what will you do next?ย 

The latest incident involving the mercurial Manchester City striker involved a bit of a physical spat between he and his manager, Roberto Mancini, during practice on Thursday.ย 

Here's what went down, according to Rob Burnett of The Mirror:

Mancini was incensed by a mis-timed tackle by the 22-year-old forward.

Balotelli squared up to his manager who reacted by grabbing the young striker by his training bib.

Staff were forced to intervene and coach Brian Kidd had to get between the two before dragging Mancini away from the player as other staff pulled Balotelli away.

According to John Drayton of the Daily Mail, the tackle in question took down Gael Clichy.ย 

But to truly appreciate what happened here, you have to re-live the incident through the amazing images that came from the practice grounds.

We start with Mancini, who is clearly less than pleased with Balotelli and grabs his shirt.

Uh oh, thinks Mancini, as Balotelli squares him up like a bull about to charge. This isn't good, seems to be etched over the Italian manager's face.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevail and likely keep Mancini from getting his butt kicked.

Now, let's make two things clear: This is newsworthy because it involves notorious bad boy Balotelli, and because these pictures are absolutely hilarious. Coaches and players getting into spats is nothing new in sports, and even a relatively mild physical confrontation such as this isn't novel.

It's never a good idea for a player to present a threat to his manager, however, and if Balotelli thinks this little display will earn himself more playing time, he's got another thing coming. Still, owner Sheikh Mansourย has long been one of Balotelli's biggest supporters, so I'm sure this little incident will be brushed under the rug.

Stay tuned.


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