Mario Balotelli
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli

Manchester City's controversial striker Mario Balotelli could be banned for up to nine games, following his rash tackle on Arsenal defensive midfielder Alex Song, during the two sides' league game at the Emirates on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. The tackle was not penalised by match referee Martin Atkinson.

The report explained the FA were deciding on whether or not to punish the 21 year old Italian for the studs-up challenge that could have resulted in a serious injury for Song. If Balotelli is found guilty, the offence will constitute a fourth red card for the season, which will result in a long ban for the former Inter Milan player.

Balotelli, who has been in the headlines countless times for many infractions, will serve a ban in any case, for being ejected later on during the same game. He will miss another two games for being shown the red card thrice already this season and if the FA find him guilty now, he could miss another three, meaning his season would have ended at the Emirates.

The nine game ban will only result in more vociferous calls for his transfer from within the City camp, all of whom want him to leave in the summer.

Balotelli is also reportedly being dropped from the Italian national team, over his recent conduct, by coach Cesare Prandelli, who earlier excluded the player (at the time facing a domestic ban for stamping on Spurs' Scott Parker) for Italy's friendly tie against the US.

However, Balotelli has now issued a public apology for his actions saying.

"I'm really sorry for what happened and for the disappointment I've caused Manchester City, and particularly to Roberto Mancini, whom I respect and whom I love," The Guardian quoted Balotelli as saying.

"I would like very much to play for the national team but yesterday [Sunday] I committed two fouls - they were not reaction fouls. I have not broken [Prandelli's] code of ethics. I have already missed out on the national team for one stupid thing - I will not do it a second time. Regarding my future, we will see at the end of the season. I will talk with the club and we'll see," he added.

Meanwhile Mancini, who was very disappointed after City's late loss to Arsenal, has warned Balotelli that his entire career could come to an end in a couple of years if he did not change his current ways.

"He needs to change his behaviour if he wants to continue to play. I saw in my life a lot of players like Mario that are fantastic, arrogant guys. But, after, they lose all their talent like this and they finish in two or three years. Mario is this way," The Guardian quoted Mancini as saying.