Mancini sets Balotelli challenge
- Wed 19 Dec 2012, 8:36AM
- Posted by Mark Booth
Roberto Mancini insists that Mario Balotelli still has a future at the club but has challenged the striker to work hard at training to earn a start.
With the gauntlet of the festive fixture calendar laying out in front of the Blues’ title challenge, City will require every squad member to put in a shift as Reading, Sunderland and Stoke lie in wait.
"We need to have all the players this month as we have a lot of games in two weeks so Mario needs to train,” Mancini is quoted as saying on ESPN.co.uk.
"I don't think he was happy about it on Saturday but, when he starts to show his quality, he will play again."
In case you haven’t seen it, make sure you don’t miss Kolo and Yaya Toure’s Christmas video on the mcfc.co.uk Advent Calendar.
The more senior Toure brother has spent three and a half years at the club and has stated his desire to remain at the Etihad Stadium after his contract expires in the summer.
"I like it in England. I have been here for all my career and it's great to play in England. I really enjoy it, that is why I brought my brother here!” Kolo said.
"There are challenges coming and there are changes in life, and I will deal with that if it happened. I wish to stay, but you never know.
"The club has been here for me. Even through my tough time, everyone was behind me - the people and the staff at the club, everybody, the chairman, everybody.
"To have this support is great and that is why it would be much more difficult to leave."
In transfer news, City are said to be locked in a two-way fight with Spurs for the signature of Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente – that’s according to today’s Daily Mail.
The 27-year old was joint-leading Spanish goalscorer in La Liga last season with 17 goals but has only made one start in the competition this season.
“A host of clubs across Europe, including Manchester City and Tottenham, are interested in the 27-year-old but Athletic intend to make any interested parties wait until next summer to get their man,” writes John Drayton.
“Athletic are hoping Llorente can still have an impact on the field before he leaves as Marcelo Bielsa's side attempt to recover from a poor start to the season.”
Finally, City have also been linked with an audacious move for Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao in the Daily Express.
“According to Portuguese paper O Jogo, City are prepared to offer £134m for the pair,” writes Charles Perrin.
“The one barrier could be that Ronaldo may not to wish to go to the Etihad as he would incur the wrath of bitter rivals Manchester United.”
Just the one barrier in the way, then.
Remember folks, it’s just gossip and paper talk until you read a confirmed transfer story here on mcfc.co.uk.