Repentant Mario Balotelli has apologised to his manager, teammates and City fans after being sent off in the Europa League exit at the hands of Dynamo Kyiv.
The young Italian’s 35th minute tackle at defender Goran Popov earned him a straight red card and left ten men in a battle to overcome a two-goal first leg deficit.
The Blues won the game thanks to an Aleksandar Kolarov strike but bowed out 1-2 on aggregate.
Balotelli accepts that his rash tackle let down himself and everyone connected with the club. “It was not my intention to hurt anyone, I want to express my sincere apologies to Popov,” stressed the striker.
“I was trying my best for the team as I always do. The ball was in the air and I went for it with my foot high. I never tried to make contact with Popov and I certainly didn’t want to hurt him. In retrospect, however, the tackle was poor and I’m very sorry to my teammates in particular that I got sent off so early in such an important game.”
“I should have showed more consideration, but I was so involved in the game. It was not a good way to repay the manager who has shown so much faith in me or the owners and fans who have made me so welcome since I arrived from Italy.
I hope they forgive me and see that I want success with Manchester City. From my injury on I have had some difficulties. It is not an easy period for me but I will overcome it with the help of everybody.
Balotelli’s dismissal, which was described as ‘stupid’ by boss Roberto Mancini, will be available for the vital Premier League trip to Chelsea on Sunday. His ban for the red card against Kyiv will be served in European competition the next time he is involved.