English Premiership

Balotelli's house ablaze

2011-10-22 20:50
Mario Balotelli (AP)

Manchester - Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was forced to flee from his burning house after a firework was set off in his bathroom, officials said on Saturday.

In what is yet another bizarre episode in the 21-year-old Italian's career, police and fire crews were called to the striker's home in Macclesfield shortly after midnight after the blaze broke out.

"Crews managed to put the fire out within half an hour of arriving but remained at the scene until 2.45 am to prevent any possible flare-ups," a spokesman for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

"Smoke alarms were fitted at the property and the occupiers were able to get out unharmed. The fire was caused by a firework."

The incident comes on the eve of City's eagerly-awaited Premier League derby against Manchester United, with Balotelli reportedly in contention to start after an impressive recent run of form.

The Guardian reported that Balotelli had trained as normal on Saturday and told club officials that the blaze started when he and four friends began setting off firworks through an open window.

The blaze inside the property started when a firework set bathroom towels alight, Balotelli is reported to have said.

Balotelli has regularly courted controversy throughout his career and has been involved in several incidents since joining City in August 2010.

He was sent off twice in his first season and was also investigated over an incident at City's training ground when darts were thrown at a youth player.

Mancini also substituted him after only half an hour of a pre-season game against Los Angeles Galaxy for attempting a backheel finish.

Despite his various run-ins, Mancini had recently claimed Balotelli had a "big improvement" in his behaviour, stating only on Friday that he was "changing his mentality."

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