English Premiership

Balotelli unhurt in car crash

2012-04-05 20:32
Mario Balotelli (File)

Manchester - Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli escaped unhurt after being involved in a car crash on Thursday.

Police said officers responded to reports of a collision between two cars shortly after 15:15 in Manchester city center.

City said no one was injured in the incident and that Balotelli, who was driving a Bentley, was not at fault.

The 21-year-old Italy international has rarely been out of the headlines since arriving in England in 2010 from misdemeanors on and off the pitch.

Balotelli this week admitted to an affair with a woman who Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney repeatedly slept with while his wife was pregnant. Jennifer Thompson was working as an escort when she and another call girl were linked with Rooney in 2010.

"Mario is a young and impulsive football player and as such he is an easy target for tabloids looking for stories and people seeking to benefit from being associated with him," Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola said in a statement. "Lately I feel that the chase has become more purposeful and women, in particular, are targeting Mario looking to make money from him directly or by selling stories to newspapers that relate to situations which they have intentionally pursued.

"It now seems that one of these women has succeeded and the newspapers have their story. In this regard, we therefore wish to confirm that Mario has had a brief involvement with Miss Jennifer Thompson, a well-known figure amongst tabloid readers in England."

Raiola said Balotelli will "deal with any consequences his actions bring."

"Mario prefers to admit what has happened, has refused any means on offer to try to keep the matter silent," he said.

City manager Roberto Mancini complained on Thursday that Balotelli's conduct was blown out of all proportion.

"There are some people who think bad things against other people, like Mario," Mancini said. "Every time Mario does something, (it) is like a war.

"There are other people on and off the pitch that do worse than Mario and no one says anything because maybe they play for an important team or are not like Mario."

Mancini does not blame the media, stressing it was "his fault because if he wants he can play and stay at home."

Balotelli frustrated Mancini with his performance in last weekend's English Premier League match against Sunderland, despite scoring twice in the 3-3 draw.

Mancini said he considered substituting Balotelli after just five minutes. Balotelli later got involved in an argument with team-mate Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free kick.

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