Dirty Tackle - World Soccer

It's been a quiet preseason for Mario Balotelli. He hasn't fought any bibs, saved any children from bullying or thrown darts at youth team players in a while, so you could say he was overdue for a controversial moment. And in Man City's friendly against the L.A. Galaxy, one of the world's most entertaining footballers yet again proved his ability to expose the humorlessness of others by making a hilariously poor attempt to score with a spinning backheel after getting past the Galaxy defenders.

Infuriated by Balotelli goofing around in a friendly, Roberto Mancini immediately subbed him off even though it was just the 32nd minute and Balotelli had scored with a penalty earlier to put City up 1-0.

According to the Guardian's Daniel Taylor, Balotelli did not come out with the team for the second half and stayed in the dressing room. After the match, Mancini discussed his disappointing view of how important he thinks it is to always be serious when playing the sport:

"I hope this is a lesson for him. In football you always need to be professional, always serious and in this moment he wasn't professional. He needs to understand his behaviour has to be good in every game — not just in a final or a semi-final but every game.

"He knows he made a mistake. Football should always be serious and if you have a chance to score, you should score. If you are serious, you can play 90 minutes. If not, you can come and sit by me on the bench. Mario is young, I want to help him and that is the end of it. To take him off after 30 minutes is enough punishment. It won't have been easy for him but it has to be a lesson."

Clearly, Mario is already in midseason form. And the world is still a more interesting place with him a part of it.

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