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The City boss has conceded that the controversial Italian striker's excellent record against United may prove too difficult to ignore ahead of title clash

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 potentially title-deciding clash against Manchester United.

Balotelli has dominated headlines this campaign for all the wrong reasons, with a series of reported incidents both on and off the pitch, but Mancini believes that shouldn't detract from the excellent work that the striker has done in the past as he returns from a three-game ban.

"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."

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."