Mario Balotelli is determined not to be pushed out of Manchester City in the January transfer window despite the ongoing criticism his indifferent form and erratic behaviour is drawing.
Roberto Mancini made the surprise choice to hand Balotelli a seventh league start of the campaign in Sunday's 3-2 derby defeat by Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium. But the manager was visibly unhappy with Balotelli's performance throughout the game and replaced him after 51 minutes. The Italian then walked straight down the tunnel rather than going to sit on the bench, which he has done on previous occasions this season.
Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, said his client would still be with City at the beginning of February. "Absolutely [he will]. You can ask me the question another four hundred times and it will always be the same answer."
Balotelli enjoyed a successful tournament at Euro 2012 with Italy, where he was employed as the main striker and scored three goals, including both goals in the 2-1 semi-final victory over Germany. But he has struggled to be selected as the central forward under Mancini this season and after the defeat by United, the manager again warned him he is in danger of not realising his potential.
Mancini said: "I love Mario [as] a guy and a player, but it is important for him to start to think about his job. He has everything to play well, we wanted more from him, he has everything and he cannot play like he played today. When you have the quality that Mario has, you can't understand how you throw out of the window his quality.
"I saw players like that in my life with fantastic quality and end up with nothing, but I don't want this for him."