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Mario Balotelli - brilliant nutter

Of all the things that we football fans find most irritating about modern day football is its up-its-own-backside seriousness: everything is analysed (badly) in hushed tones, and every single incident is blown up into a potential crisis.

Take this hilarious piece of Mario Balotelli messing about, for instance. The young Italian striker tried an cheeky backheel finish in Manchester City's pre-season friendly with Los Angeles Galaxy, and missed. He looked like a bit of a plum, but scarcely deserved to be substituted straight away by Roberto Mancini. What a silly overreaction.

'I hope this is a lesson for him,' said Mancini. '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.'

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