Manchester City news

Balotelli set for surprise debut

August 17, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Mario Balotelli could make his debut for Manchester City in Thursday's Europa League clash against Timisoara after UEFA confirmed he could still be registered for the competition.

Balotelli: I'm no bad boy

It was widely expected that Balotelli, who joined City in a reported £24 million deal from Inter Milan last week, arrived too late to be included in the squad.

However, UEFA confirmed on Tuesday morning that one change can be made to City's original Europe League squad list prior to Thursday's play-off first leg match.

City, though, face a race against time as the Italian striker's registration needs to approved by both the Football Association and UEFA before midnight on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old striker was officially unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday and said he was thrilled to be at Eastlands.

"I am happy to be here at Manchester City because of the manager (Roberto Mancini) and the environment," Balotelli said. "I was sorry to leave my family and friends behind in Italy but not for professional reasons.''

Balotelli was frequently criticised by Jose Mourinho, his coach at Inter Milan last season. However, he said: "I am not a bad boy. I am just a normal guy.''

City boss Mancini added: "All of us are said to be bad boys when we are young. But I have worked with Mario before and he is a normal person.

"He is young player, only 20 years old, who can do a lot in the Premier League. He has all the qualities needed to become a fantastic player.''

The City squad are due to travel to Romania on Wednesday with reports in Timisoara stating that their players are on €100 a man to beat City and progress in the Europa League.