Madcap Balotelli to take pet dog Lucky on City's open top bus parade
Published 23:00 22/05/11 By David McDonnell - Exclusive
Madcap Mario Balotelli will have a special guest on board Manchester City's triumphant FA Cup open-top bus parade today - his pet dog.
While his City team-mates will have family and friends in tow on the victory parade through Manchester, Balotelli's beloved black labrador Lucky will be by his side.
City chiefs were stunned when they received the request from Balotelli, but the offbeat striker has had his wish granted and Lucky will be with his master during the parade, which is expected to attract more than 100,000 fans.
Balotelli is devoted to Lucky and, following his £24million move from Inter Milan to City last summer, had to wait six months to bring the pet over to England from Italy because of quarantine laws.
The striker visited Manchester dogs' home and considered taking in one of the rescue animals to fill the void left by Lucky, but decided to wait until he was reunited with his faithful friend.
"I went only once, but I couldn't take one home," said Balotelli at the time. "I love Lucky too much and it wouldn't be fair when he finally comes over."
Balotelli, 20, has enjoyed a colourful first season in England, courting controversy throughout the campaign.
The Italian bad-boy wrote off a £120,000 Audi R8 on his way to training at the start of the season and has had his car impounded dozens of times - notching up £10,000 in fines - for disregarding parking regulations.
Balotelli also earned a rebuke from City officials for allegedly throwing darts at youth team players from a window at the club's Carrington training complex.
He has been embroiled in with team-mates and opponents in training and during games, and has repeatedly clashed with City boss Roberto Mancini over his questionable attitude.
City's victory parade starts in the centre of Manchester at 6pm and will end at Eastlands around two hours later with a ticket-only celebration event for fans at Eastlands.