Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is facing a new row with Mario Balotelli.

The Daily Star says Balotelli's girlfriend Raffaella Fico is due to give birth on Christmas Day in Italy and the Manchester City striker will return home for two weeks.

The controversial striker is keen to spend as much time as possible with his catwalk model partner and baby - even if it means him missing the busiest time of the Premier League season.

It means Balotelli could miss games with Reading, Sunderland, Norwich and Stoke as the champions look to keep pace with title rivals Manchester United and Chelsea at the top.

The Blues insist Balotelli is entitled to take whatever 'leave' he is entitled to but a club source said: "We are already resigned to the fact Mario will almost certainly be absent for Reading at home and trips to Sunderland and Norwich."