London: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has urged his striker Mario Balotelli to quit smoking.
Balotelli has become a key figure in City’s pursuit of their first league title since 1968, scoring 11 goals.
Mancini admits that he has so far held back from banning the former Inter Milan forward from smoking.
“I told him [Balotelli], for me it’s better that you don’t smoke. It’s not a problem for me because I’m not his father or his mother. But if he was my son, I’d give him a kick up the a**,” he said.
“I am against cigarettes, always. For this reason, my son doesn’t smoke, but there are players who smoke in Italy and also here. He doesn’t smoke a lot of cigarettes, five or six a day, but I have told him [to stop]. Maybe he uses the cigarettes to light his fireworks,” a leading daily quoted Mancini, as saying.
Mancini insists that while he expects City and United to contest the title through to its resolution in May, the coming month could test United’s already strained squad.