MARIO BALOTELLI was axed for Manchester City’s Champions League clash at Real Madrid after another bust-up with boss Roberto Mancini.
By Jeremy Cross
Balotelli was a shock exclusion from Mancini’s squad for the 3-2 defeat at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
The controversial striker travelled to Spain with the rest of the squad but didn’t even make the bench.
Starsport can reveal the Italian star was left out for disciplinary reasons.
It is understood Mancini was left fuming when Balotelli went out partying in Manchester until the early hours of Sunday morning following the Blues’ draw at Stoke last weekend.
Mancini was keen for his stars to rest ahead of the clash with Jose Mourinho’s men, but Balotelli chose to ignore the Italian coach’s orders.
The pair clashed before the Blues jetted off to Madrid and Mancini told him he wouldn’t be involved – but still insisted on him going to the Spanish capital.
Mancini has also been angered by Balotelli’s refusal to give up smoking.
He wants Balotelli to have counselling sessions and hypnosis but the maverick hitman has refused.
A club source said: “Mario Balotelli is in the bad books on two fronts – a very late night out after the Stoke game and his refusal to stop smoking.
“He and Mancini had words on Monday afternoon and it led to him being dropped from the squad.”
It is the latest in a long line of fall-outs between the feuding Italians since Balotelli arrived at the Etihad from Inter Milan in a £24m deal in 2010.