Manchester City's Yaya Toure dismisses rumours of Mario Balotelli bust-up

Former Barcelona star claims he sees the Italian striker as a brother, but admits the controversial youngster must be more professional if he is to stay at the club

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has dismissed rumours that he had a bust-up with Mario Balotelli after their Premier League game against Swansea.

Toure has been a key performer for Man City this season, while Balotelli’s form has been sporadic on top of a number of off-field incidents that have brought his long-term future with the club into doubt.

Following the club's recent defeat to Swansea, rumours were rife that there had been a bust-up in the tunnel but Toure was quick to dismiss any suggestion that emotions had got out of hand.

"I went to Mario and said, 'You have to calm down. We are on the field. All the people are looking at you,'" Toure told The Daily Mail.

"It’s difficult because Mario is a guy who, if he wants to do something, he will do it. But he has to listen more.

"They said I fought with Mario at Swansea and against Sunderland," he continued. "That shocked me. My lawyers called me about this and it was the first I knew about it.

"It’s just not true. It didn't happen. I am a footballer, not a boxer. People don’t know my relationship with Mario. He’s not my friend, he’s my brother and I love him. To say we had a fight is very sad. It upset me and I feel sorry for Mario. He suffers most from these things.

"At half-time against Sunderland it was very difficult. We are trying to win the league and are losing 2-1. It’s not good. But everybody was quiet. We were just looking at each other, trying to find a way to turn the result.

"But I didn't even talk to Mario. The next day he sent me a text message saying, 'Apparently we had a fight'. I just want to stop people writing and thinking that."

Balotelli has enjoyed a far more productive campaign this season on the field with an impressive goal-scoring return, though he has continued to be dogged by off-field controversies that have led to speculation that Roberto Mancini is growing tired of the Italian.

Toure wants Balotelli to stay at the club but says he must change his ways.

"The decision is down to the club, but I want him to stay. He will have more experience in the future and get more things right. All the time I talk to Mario. We are close.

"I don’t know what goes through his mind sometimes and I do get upset when he does something wrong. He has to understand he plays for Manchester City and he has to be professional.

"When I saw he had gone to a press conference recently at Inter Milan I was quite shocked. He shouldn't do that. He told me later he had friends there and wanted to see them. I understand that. 

"When I go to Barcelona I go to meet people. I go to Eric Abidal’s house because he needs me. But it’s all private and it has to be that way. Mario is a fantastic player and person but his big fault is in his character and behaviour with people. We talk about that."