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The "crazy" Italian striker - who accidentally set his house on fire on Saturday morning - scored twice in City's stunning 6-1 victory over rivals United on Sunday

By Greg Stobart at Old Trafford 

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes Mario Balotelli can become as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if he can change his “crazy” attitude.

Balotelli scored the opening two goals in City's crushing 6-1 victory at rivals Manchester United on Sunday and the 21-year-old also forced the 47th minute dismissal of United defender Jonny Evans.

It came after the controversial Italian was forced to flee from his burning house in the early hours of Saturday morning after he set off fireworks in the bathroom with a friend.

“If we want to talk about Mario the football player we can put him in the first five players in the world,” Mancini said after the game.

“I don't know what happened apart from he lives in a hotel now. I hope for him and for football that Mario can change his mind. After this, he can become one of the best players in the world like Messi and Ronaldo.

“The problem is because of his age he can make some mistakes. He's Mario. He's crazy – but I love him because he's a good guy.”

City ripped United apart on Sunday but Mancini insisted the margin of victory did not have a bearing on his satisfaction as his side moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

He added: “I'm satisfied because we beat United away. I don't think there are many teams who can win here. The 6-1 is important for the supporters but I'm just happy for the three points.

“I think we played very well against Bolton and Tottenham but this is different because we were against a strong team like United.

“I watched three or four United games from the last month and they conceded a lot of chances to their opponents.

“I think the season will be very long. There are four or five teams who can win the title. There are 29 games until the end.

“It's an important win for our confidence and because we showed we are a strong team.”

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