There are two ways to look at the fresh reports of Mario Balotelli drama around Manchester City:
The quick low-down is this: Only those present at Thursday’s training know exactly what happened, and the context thereof. But it does seem clear that some kind of confrontation occurred between City’s volatile man-child of a striker and manager Roberto Mancini.
On the one hand, these contentious training ground incidents probably happen more than most supporters might realize. Same for locker room confrontations. These are (mostly) young men, after all, so that’s the first ingredient into the bubbling pot. Being professional athletes, there are egos involved, and that’s an accelerant on any potential flare-ups, dust-ups, bust-ups and what-not.
Generally, these things can be contained without much permanent damage.
On the other hand …
Most flare-ups, dust-ups and bust-ups are between two players. This one was apparently between manager and player, and that’s a potential ruckus that rises from misdemeanor status into felony level conflict (figuratively speaking, of course).
I’ve said it before and will continue to say so:
Anything that happens now around Manchester City with the unstable striker can no longer be called Balotelli’s fault. It’s management’s fault at this point for keeping the guy around. They know what he is. They understand the damage and the disquiet he can potentially deliver.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.