EXCLUSIVE: Balotelli not boxing clever on night out
Published 00:00 07/01/12 By Ryan Parry
Mario Balotelli missed Manchester City’s New Year’s Day match due to injury – but was hammering an amusement arcade’s punchball the next night.
The madcap striker was seen launching a flurry of powerful blows on the electronic boxing machine.
Yet not-so-super Mario was a loser after challenging a Manchester United fan to a contest.
Matt Sherrington, 21, was out with twin brother Chris on Monday when they spotted the controversial, £100,000-a-week Italian.
Balotelli then wandered over to the punchball, where Matt was getting top scores.
Chris said: “Balotelli challenged Matt to a game and took a running punch at the machine. He couldn’t beat my brother but had loads of goes. If he was coming back from injury, it certainly didn’t show.”
Balotelli, 21, had missed the defeat at Sunderland 24 hours earlier with a bad ankle and his antics might raise a few eyebrows at City, who like their stars to take extra care when recovering from injury.
But a club spokesman insisted he had fully recovered by Monday night, only to fall ill the next day and miss their win against Liverpool.
He added: “Mario was free to do what he wanted in his own time.”
On Thursday, City boss Roberto Mancini confirmed his star striker injured his ankle in training before New Year but made no mention of him suffering from illness.
Shop worker Chris, from Cheadle, Manchester, said Balotelli had arrived at the Tenpin centre in the Parrs Wood area at about 8.30pm on Monday with pals and seemed to be in good humour.
But he added: “He was obviously a bit annoyed he couldn’t beat Matt at the boxing game. He‘s pretty competitive.”
Balotelli is known for his off-pitch antics.
He wrote off his £120,000 Audi sports car after a day and damaged the bathroom at his Cheshire home letting off a firework.