Balotelli pleads innocence

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has stated that he did not set off any fireworks in his house on the eve of the Manchester derby, and has instead blamed the incident on one of his friends.

The controversial attacker has been in excellent form on the pitch, scoring six goals in his last five games, but has struggled to shake off-field distractions and scandals.

Despite this, the Italy international has distanced himself from blame over the firework incident, in which Cheshire Fire Service were called to the scene.

“I don’t care what people say about me. People are interested in my private life, but the thing at the weekend didn’t come from me, it came from one of my friends and one of my brother’s friends,” he told The Telegraph.

“Maybe I should be more careful about who I let in my house. But it wasn’t about me, I didn’t do anything.

“People got the story wrong about me and the fire at my house. I didn’t set any fireworks off, it was a friend of mine – I didn’t know anything about it until I heard the shouting coming from the bathroom.

“Luckily, nobody was injured, and my friend apologised to me for the damage to my house. It was a really stupid thing for him to do, someone could have been really hurt, and I was really, really angry with him about it,” he concluded.

Balotelli bagged a brace in the 6-1 destruction of United at Old Trafford, and his sights will be on Saturday’s clash with Wolves at the Etihad Stadium.

By Gareth McKnight