Jan 3, 2013, 11:36 AM EDT
There are two ways to look at the fresh reports of Mario Balotelli drama around Manchester City:
The quick low-down is this: Only those present at Thursday’s training know exactly what happened, and the context thereof. But it does seem clear that some kind of confrontation occurred between City’s volatile man-child of a striker and manager Roberto Mancini.
On the one hand, these contentious training ground incidents probably happen more than most supporters might realize. Same for locker room confrontations. These are (mostly) young men, after all, so that’s the first ingredient into the bubbling pot. Being professional athletes, there are egos involved, and that’s an accelerant on any potential flare-ups, dust-ups, bust-ups and what-not.
Generally, these things can be contained without much permanent damage.
On the other hand …
Most flare-ups, dust-ups and bust-ups are between two players. This one was apparently between manager and player, and that’s a potential ruckus that rises from misdemeanor status into felony level conflict (figuratively speaking, of course).
I’ve said it before and will continue to say so:
Anything that happens now around Manchester City with the unstable striker can no longer be called Balotelli’s fault. It’s management’s fault at this point for keeping the guy around. They know what he is. They understand the damage and the disquiet he can potentially deliver.
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Louis van Gaal delighted, yet realistic, as Di Maria speaks for the first time as a United player.
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