Richards denies Balotelli bust-up

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has played down an apparent training ground confrontation with controversial striker Mario Balotelli.

Reports and photographs have emerged suggesting the pair clashed during a practice session ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League game against Arsenal.

Richards wrote on his Twitter account: "Me & mario are all good! these things happen in training & we shook hands after. it shows passion!"

The incident comes as the league leaders look to get back to winning ways after losing their unbeaten record at Chelsea on Monday. It is also not the first of its kind to make the news at the club over the past year.

City's training ground at Carrington is flanked by a public footpath and photographers can therefore gain relatively straightforward access to the squad's sessions.

Balotelli clashed with Jerome Boateng and Vincent Kompany last season while Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure were also pictured seemingly fighting.

This latest matter also brings Balotelli into the news once again for matters other than his performances on the field.

Most infamously, the fire service was called to the 21-year-old's house in Cheshire in October after fireworks set off from inside the bathroom started a blaze.

The Italian was also in the headlines earlier this week after being spotted out in Manchester city centre in the early hours of Sunday morning - less than 48 hours before the game at Chelsea - but manager Roberto Mancini dismissed that as unimportant.

Despite these incidents, Balotelli has impressed on the pitch this term, scoring 11 goals.

Source: PA

Source: PA