As a Manchester United fan, The 6-1 was the most traumatic game I've attended. Just 19 months old when The 5-1 happened in 1989, I had witnessed United lose 2-1, 3-1 and 4-1 to crap City sides, which was humiliating even for a southern-based Red. But The 6-1 was chastening for two reasons: the winning margin and the fact City were now unquestionably a better team just four seasons on from Michael Ball being fooled by a balloon.

Struggling to look on the bright side of life on the way home, it wasn't until I braced myself for the masochism of that evening's highlights. Mario Balotelli's opener had prompted the revealing of a T-shirt alas, from south stand block 121, it was impossible to make out what it read. The reveal came on Match of the Day 2 and it read "Why Always Me?" It was the first time I laughed all day.

mario balotelli

Balotelli enjoys scoring the opener in the Manchester derby

Balotelli was referring to a firework being let off in his bathroom two days previously, setting his house alight. When the firemen arrived, he allegedly tossed them the keys and informed them, "I'll be at the Radisson." Already that year he had been substituted in Kiev because he was allergic to the grass and confirmed he had had a "s**t season". It was chic to like Balotelli.

Two months earlier the reaction he sparked on Twitter for a barmy act of impudence in a friendly against LA Galaxy suggested he had just decked the Queen, such is the sad state of modern football. However some, including yours truly, defended him. He was a a sandwich short of a picnic, but he was a maverick, and football was severely lacking in mavericks.

mario balotelli

Edin Džeko is unimpressed by Balotelli's failed trick shot

Then Noel Gallagher intervened. In a cringing interview that was as stimulating as the former Oasis man's solo career, Gallagher reeled off a list of incidents which had supposedly happened.

Did you give a tramp £1,000 after winning in the casino? Did you go to church on Christmas Eve and put £1,000 in the collection plate? Did you go to the pub in Wythenshawe and buy everyone a drink? Did you go to a petrol station and pay for everyone's petrol? Did you drive around Manchester dressed as Santa handing out money? The answer to every question was "No".

The wacky myths dispelled, Balotelli then tried to live up to the wacky myths and his form nosedived. On Easter Sunday he hit the self-destruct button and was sent off at Arsenal, where it was visible he had another pre-printed T-shirt on underneath which read "YOLO" (I have no idea what that stands for). Wayne Rooney couldn't resist taking a dig on Twitter. Even the most anodyne of pundits were cutting loose like Ned Flanders in Las Vegas to slate the tedious and tiresome Balotelli. The T**t in the Hat, as some referred to him as.

mario balotelli alex song

Balotelli checks on the well-being of Alexandre Song after an horrific tackle

However behind every attention-seeker is a mentor. Piers Morgan has CNN, who overlook the former Daily Mirror editor publishing false photographs of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. Daily Mail agent provocateurs have the Daily Mail and Balotelli has Roberto Mancini.

Mancini, as previously stated before, is not as good a manager as his nine major honours in Italy and England suggest. His success in Europe's boot was owed greatly to the Calciopoli scandal and tainted by European failure and although he ended City's 35-year trophy drought and guided them to their first title in 44 years, it came at a cost of £291.75m and he still can't progress past the Champions League group stage.

Now Balotelli's gone, it would be logical for Mancini to follow him. For Mancini was the man who convinced City's owners to part with £24m for the irascible Italian, who signed a £170,000-a-week contract in August 2010. That amounts to roughly £11.56million in wages alone, excluding goal and win bonuses. City have sold him for £20m. Billionaires or not, an £11m+ hit on a player who had the gall to take the club to a tribunal is humiliating.

Balotelli's baggage was infamous before he arrived at Eastlands. He introduced himself to British audiences with Internazionale in 2009, hacking down Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in both matches of the clubs' last 16 tie before stooping over the Portuguese and insisting he dived. The inferiority complex cried "enigmatic". José Mourinho had to handle the controversy which stemmed from him wearing an AC Milan shirt the following season.

mario balotelli

Ronaldo sees the funny side

And Balotelli again caused uproar in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2010 when he threw his shirt to the ground after the final whistle in response to Inter fans who had booed him. Some disgruntled supporters tried to attack Balotelli after the game.

Yet despite the background information, reputation and cost the Abu Dhabi United Group still gave Mancini the green light. It wasn't until this month's training ground confrontation (Scott Sinclair's outstanding contribution for City?) that the camel's back, sprained on several occasions, was finally declared broken. It probably already was after Balotelli's feckless derby display against United in December and his infuriating inconsistency, but such was Mancini's stubbornness in persevering with his former pupil at Inter there was a reluctance to let go.

mario balotelli

A disgruntled Balotelli is substituted against United in December

Mancini admittedly dealt with Balotelli well last season. After the LA incident he lightened up and City played their best football at the beginning of the campaign, with Balotelli instrumental. After the Arsenal red card, City thrived during Balotelli's suspension and he wasn't risked in a match until the 76th minute on the final day of the season against QPR as City laid siege to their opponents' goal. Balotelli provided the assist for Sergio Agüero's title winner.

It should merely have been a stay of execution, though. Balotelli has not looked remotely close to being one of the best players in the world - which Mancini and the man himself billed him as - and had Robin van Persie become a blue and not a red he may have been the obvious fall guy. But Mancini, resembling Veruca Salt as he wanted it all but got just Jack Rodwell until deadline day, always seemed reluctant to bid arrivederci. And even if he wasn't he will doubtless blame Brian Marwood.

But Marwood is not culpable for starting Balotelli in City's biggest game of the season at home to United. It smacked of Mancini attempting to prove a point, imploring Balotelli to rekindle the magic he weaved at Old Trafford 14 months earlier when he reduced Jonny Evans to a performance Pat McGibbon would wince at. Fifty-two minutes in, an exasperated Mancini had had enough and Carlos Tévez was bidden to galvanise the champions. It proved to be Balotelli's final chance and final start.

"For me, Mario was like another one of my children," Mancini confessed after City's goalless draw with QPR. "I've invested a lot of time with all the players. With Mario, maybe more." £30m more than it was worth.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Arriving, August 2010

  • Same name, same number, different shirt

  • Red card number one, November 2010

  • Much to Mancini's chagrin

  • Some friendly advice

  • A strop at West Ham, November 2010

  • 'Shove off'

  • He occasionally scored...

  • Blondie

  • The victim

  • The outcome, vs Dynamo Kiev, March 2011

  • Giving it to United fans in the 2011 semi-final

  • Only to be set upon

  • He is not really there

  • Getting heated in LA

  • Unwisely squaring up to Nemanja Vidić

  • Really?

  • A rare hug from the boss

  • That T-shirt...

  • Content

  • Goodbye

  • 'Get off'

  • Shouldering it in against Norwich

  • Having a word with the Chelsea fans

  • Another victim, Scott Parker (but no red card)

  • And staying on to score the winner

  • Withdrawn in Porto after being racially abused

  • Another terrible T-shirt

  • Not getting his way against Sunderland

  • Checking on a maimed Alexandre Song

  • Another red card

  • Itching to take on Joey Barton

  • Champion

  • Mario Balotelli Sighting - Manchester

    Mario Balotelli is seen out and about in Manchester City Centre.

  • Manchester City FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Roman Weidenfeller of Borussia Dortmund has words with Mario Balotelli of Manchester City prior to the equalising penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City gestures to Roman Weidenfeller of Borussia Dortmund after scoring an equalising penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • AFC Ajax v Manchester City FC - UEFA Champions League

    AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 24: Referee Svein Oddvar Moen of Norway intervenes as Mario Balotelli of Manchester City argues with Eyong Enoh of Ajax as Yaya Toure looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between AFC Ajax v Manchester City at the Amsterdam Arena on October 24, 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-SWANSEA

    Swansea City's Welsh defender Ashley Williams (R) and Manchester City's Italian striker Mario Balotelli (L) clash during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Swansea City at The Etihad stadium in Manchester, north-west England on October 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City FC v Ajax Amsterdam - UEFA Champions League

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied him a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group D - Manchester City v Ajax - Etihad Stadium

    Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) and his team-mates appeal to referee Peter Rasmussen

  • FBL-ENG-PR-WIGAN-MAN CITY

    Manchester City's Italian striker Mario Balotelli (R) celebrates after scoring their opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City at The DW Stadium in Wigan, north-west England on November 28, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City Sighting - Manchester

    Mario Balotelli, Man City, seen at Manchester airport before the team fly out to Dortmund, Germany.

  • Mario Balotelli Sighting - Manchester

    Mario Balotelli seen at a petrol station in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium

    Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (centre) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with teammates as Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) stands dejected

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium

    Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) looks towards manager Roberto Mancini without response as he is substituted off the pitch

  • Mario Balotelli Sighting - Manchester

    Mario Balotelli leaves San Carlo Italian Restaurant in Manchester on Monday night.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium

    Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) looks towards manager Roberto Mancini without response as he is substituted off the pitch

  • Manchester City Sighting - Stockport

    Mario Balotelli seen at Stockport Train Station.

  • Manchester City's Mario Balotelli smiles as he replaces teammate Edin Dzeko, right, near the end of their English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Manchester City v Fulham - Premier League

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City look on from the bench during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on January 19, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

  • Mario Balotelli Sighting - Manchester

    Mario Balotelli seen out and about in Manchester. Editor's Note - Car Numberplate Obscured.