Mario Balotelli
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli Reuters

Manchester City's undoubtedly brilliant but often controversial Italian striker, Mario Baloteeli, has perhaps taken the first step to actually maturing as an adult and a professional... that, at least, must be what City and fans of the Italian national team must be hoping for.

In a report in the Guardian, Balotelli, while talking to Irish musician Noel Gallagher (who is also a City fan) for a BBC interview, admitted to needing to grow up a little bit.

"If Mancini says something, he's right. But I'm 21, so I'm still young. I think from last year, already I'm bigger [older] in my head," Balotelli explained.

The young Italian has had several very colourful moments already, in his short time at the Etihad stadium; these incidents involve him throwing a dart at a City youth team player, driving deliberately into a woman's prison and driving around Manchester with pockets stuffed with money!

As a result of these and other similar incidents, Balotelli has often been linked with a move back to Italy, amid reports he was unhappy with the club.

However, in a report published by ESPN Soccernet on Thursday, he dispelled such rumours.

"If Mancini wasn't here, I never come here," he was quoted as saying, and adding, "But now that I'm here, I'm OK, I'm happy."

Balotelli transferred to Manchester City for £20m and has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season.