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The Dutchman feels there are two sides to the controversial Italian and has urged the striker to be more serious as the club prepare for the title run-in

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has described his team-mate Mario Balotelli as both a "fool" and a "genuis" and has insisted the Italian is fortunate to have Roberto Mancini as his manager.

Since moving to England in 2010 the Italian has frequently hit the headlines for his antics both on and off the pitch, ranging from letting fireworks off in his bathroom to unexpectedly turning up at an Inter Milan press conference.

Saturday’s disappointing draw with Sunderland saw the 21-year-old lose his cool yet again, this time with team-mate Aleksandar Kolarov, and De Jong has admitted there are two sides to the striker.

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“Sometimes Mario is a fool and at other times he is a genius — there are two sides to him," he told The Sun.

“Lots of people expect him to pull off crazy stunts and as a result he feels he must do something.

“People like that need to have upheaval in their lives in order to perform.

“He is happy in his personal relationship. That is important and it makes him more focused.

“But he knows that he has to become more serious-minded.”

De Jong believes if it was not for manager Roberto Mancini, who managed Balotelli at Inter prior to them being reunited at City, the 21-year-old would have lost his way in life.

He continued: “Luckily, we have a manager who has his say, otherwise Mario would have gone off the rails a long time ago.

“Problems also seem to come from the people who hang around with him.”

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