'Troubled' Balotelli relieved after admitting fling with prostitute linked to Rooney
10:40 GMT, 5 April 2012
Mario Balotelli says a weight has been lifted from his shoulders following revelations that he had a fling with a prostitute linked to Wayne Rooney.
The Manchester City striker, who has clashed with manager Roberto Mancini recently, admitted that his knowledge of the story had been a heavy burden.
And the 21-year-old is determined to fire City to the title and earn a place in Italy’s side for Euro 2012.
It's good to talk: Mario Balotelli is relieved to have lifted the burden off his shoulders having been troubled by the story
Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola,
pre-empted embarrassing headlines by revealing details of a ‘brief
involvement’ with Jennifer Thompson, who claimed in 2010 that Rooney had
paid her 1,200-a-night for sex while his wife Coleen was five months
In an interview with Gazzetta dello
Sport, he added: ‘I know I must still learn to keep my private life
separate from my profession. It’s not easy, but I have taken this step
to free me from the weight of this story.
‘Recently, I admit, I have been
troubled – because of this story, but not only. My natural parents in
some interviews have been disrespectful to my family.
‘Now that this weight has been lifted,
I am certain that I will find the positive energy to make the best run
for the title with Manchester City, and prepare in the best way for the
Limelight: Jenny Thompson achieved notoriety when linked to Wayne Rooney
‘Now that this weight has been lifted, I am certain that I will find the positive energy to make the best run for the title with Manchester City, and prepare in the best way for the European Championship.’
The Italian newspaper says that Balotelli told his girlfriend Raffaella Fico and his adopted parents about the imminent story when they came to visit him in Manchester at the weekend.
It has been claimed that Balotelli had a liaison with Thompson in February, two days before scoring against Blackburn and revealing a T-shirt that said ‘Raffaella, I love you’, in Italian.
Soon after he was photographed outside a strip club in Liverpool, but insisted he had done nothing improper and was forgiven by his girlfriend.
Controversy: Balotelli was involved in a spat with team-mates on the pitch last time out
Fico, a 24-year-old model and reality TV
star, has since spoken about marriage and the couple posed for their
first photo shoot together for an Italian magazine that hit newsstands
She said in an accompanying interview: ‘Mario is the man that I love. We are busy and very young. But if he asked me to get married, I would accept. I, like him, dream of a family.’
Balotelli’s erratic behaviour has been apparent in recent days. He argued with Mancini in training last week, soon after bizarrely gatecrashing a press conference in Milan to present Andrea Stramaccioni as Inter’s new manager.
But Mancini claims Balotelli's behaviour on and off the pitch is blown out of all proportion.
Gesture: The fling allegedly happened two days before Balotelli revealed this tribute to his girlfriend, Rafaella Fico, pictured above on Wednesday
He said: 'There are some people who think bad things against other people, like Mario. Every time Mario does something, (it) is like a war.
'There are other people on and off the pitch that do worse than Mario and no-one says anything because maybe they play for an important team or are not like Mario.'
Yet Mancini would much prefer it if the 21-year-old could play and then find a way to keep his private life out the news.
When asked if he tires of asking questions about his fellow Italian, Mancini, speaking at a press conference this morning, said: 'I would like Mario to play, score and finish the other situation.
'It is not maybe your [the media's] fault – it is his fault because if he wants he can play and stay at home. Like this, no people can ask about the other situation.
'I think many people have different behaviour with Mario.'
Balotelli has been linked with a return to Inter or a move to his boyhood idols AC Milan in recent weeks.
He joined City for 24million in August 2010 and has scored 27 goals in 58 appearance, although his off-the-field antics have often overshadowed his talent.