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The Manchester City boss is a long-term admirer of the controversial Uruguayan, who is currently serving a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic

Troubled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is as much of a "champion" as controversial former Manchester City frontman Mario Balotelli, according to Roberto Mancini.

As Goal exclusively revealed last month, the Reds were willing to listen to offers in excess of €47 million for the divisive Uruguayan even before his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

Mancini is a long-term admirer of Suarez despite his numerous indiscretions and believes that, in terms of both ability and the controversy he attracts, the similarities with Balotelli are there for all to see.

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"Suarez reminds me of Balotelli," he told Gazzetta Extratime. "In part, he looks for trouble, but there is also aggression towards him. But the player is not discussed. He is a champion."

Balotelli departed Manchester for AC Milan for a reported €20 million in January after a series of clashes with Mancini, and appears to have re-found his best form in his homeland, with nine goals in 10 league games.

But the City boss is keen on casting his eye towards Serie A for further recruits this summer, with Roma's Brazilian defender Marquinhos high on his list.

"Marquinhos I really like, but I do not think that Roma is willing to sell," he added. "With just two signings next year the Giallorossi can win the Scudetto."

It has been suggested that Mancini's own days at City might be numbered if he fails to beat Wigan in the FA Cup final, but the Italian believes those predicting his demise have ulterior motives.

"They are fictional stories in the British press," he insisted. It is absolutely not true and I have never felt in danger.

"They criticise me for second place, but this was a valid argument, they should fire everyone, apart from [Sir Alex] Ferguson who won the Premier League and [Michael] Laudrup who won the League Cup.

"The truth is they do this because I am an Italian coach and because the City has broken the order.

"Until a couple of years ago English football, with its earnings, was in the hands of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

"Now here we are and it bothers them the City from 2011 to today won three trophies and if we win the FA Cup it will become four: not bad for a club that was barren for 35 years."

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