Mario Balotelli has made it a habit of making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Unsurprisingly, he’s done it yet again, but to be fair to Balotelli this time is far from his fault.
When Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was told of Balotelli’s smoking habit, the Italian manager confessed to being aware of the situation, revealing that the striker smokes “five or six” cigarettes a day.
“Yeah, yeah, I know this, I know he smokes,” said Mancini.
“It’s not okay but I’m not his father or his mother. If he was my son I would give him a kick up the a*** but he’s not.
“I told him it’s better you don’t smoke. I’m against cigarettes, always. For this reason my son doesn’t smoke.
“But I don’t think he smokes a lot – maybe five or six a day. But I told him [he should stop].”
To be perfectly honest, it seems that Mancini’s comments have just created drama out of nothing.
But can you really question Mancini’s mindgame tactics?
Surely not, because at the end of the day, City are top of the English Premier League table, with a game in hand.
Prior to Manchester United’s shocking home defeat to Blackburn Rovers earlier today, Mancini admitted that United pose a serious title threat.
“If we want to win this title we will try to win every game because United are very strong,” said Mancini.
“They are used to being at the top for a long time. But I don’t think for us it makes any difference whether we are on the top or behind by one point.
“In the end it could be United are better than us, but we will be okay if we focus on the next 20 games and think positively in difficult moments.
“In every championship every team has a difficult moment. United have had only one, which was against us. But there will be difficult moments again for United, us and Tottenham.”
Despite United’s unanticipated loss to bottom-of-the-table Blackburn, City won’t have the champagne on ice just yet.
It is yet to be determined how United’s “noisy neighbours” will cope with losing Yaya Toure to the Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations.
In addition, City may be in trouble if they suffer injuries at the same rate Manchester United has.
“United have four or five important players injured. If we were to get that problem it will be a big problem,” added Mancini.
“Probably they are better than us, but we want to win this title and we will do everything to win it.”
Does Roberto Mancini really believe that Manchester United are superior to City?