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The Italian coach has conceded that the controversial striker's excellent record against the club's local rivals may prove too difficult to ignore for the clash on April 30

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has acknowledged that Mario Balotelli could still have a crucial part to play on his return from suspension in the potenially title-deciding clash against Manchester United.

Balotelli has dominated headlines for all sorts of reasons over 2011-12, with a series of reported incidents both on and off the pitch, but Mancini believes that that should not detract from the excellent work that the striker, returning from a three-match ban incurred in the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, has done in the past.

"Despite some stupid things he has done, Mario has done some important things, like his double strike at Old Trafford this season," Mancini told France Football.

"With him anything anything is possible. It’s difficult to say today if I will recall Balotelli but everyone is available and I will make my choice on Sunday."

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The pair are known to share a close bond despite his repeated misdemeanours and Mancini hopes that there is still a future at the club for the controversial forward next season.

"It’s like a family when a child does stupid things. The affection of the parents is still there," the manager continued.

"He’s young and he commits big mistakes that can put the team in difficulty.

"But I still think he has great talent and I hope he will be a City player next season. It’s all in his hands."

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