10:31pm Monday 9th April 2012
© Press Association 2014
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has apologised for his red card at Arsenal and insisted no decision will be taken on his future until the end of the season.
The 21-year-old was sent off in the dying seconds of Easter Sunday's 1-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium for clattering into Bacary Sagna, after earlier getting away with a knee-high challenge on Gunners midfielder Alex Song.
"I'm really sorry for what happened and for the disappointment I've caused Manchester City, and particularly to (manager) Roberto Mancini, whom I respect and whom I love," the player said in a statement provided by his agent Mini Raiola to Italy's ANSA news agency.
The loss dealt what could prove a fatal blow to City's Barclays Premier League title hopes but could also have been Balotelli's final appearance for the club, with Mancini admitting he would "probably" sell the former Inter Milan man this summer.
However, Balotelli, who was dropped by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli for February's friendly against the United States after being hit with a domestic ban for stamping on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker, issued the aforementioned statement in a bid to take the sting out of the situation.
He continued: "I would like very much to play for the national team, but yesterday I committed two fouls - they were not reaction fouls. I have not broken [Prandelli's] code of ethics. I have already missed out on the national team for one stupid thing - I will not do it a second time.
"Regarding my future, we will see at the end of the season. I will talk with the club and we'll see.''
Balotelli's sending-off in north London - which came shortly after Mikel Arteta's late winner - earned the Italian an automatic three match ban, and Mancini warned the player after the match that his entire career could be over in two years if he did not change his ways.
"He needs to change his behaviour if he wants to continue to play," the City boss said.
"I saw in my life a lot of players like Mario that are fantastic, arrogant guys. But, after, they lose all their talent like this and they finish in two or three years. Mario is this way."
© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group