Italy coach Cesare Prandelli believes Roberto Mancini's decision to drop Mario Balotelli for Manchester City's last match was purely for footballing reasons.

Reports have suggested that Mancini is willing to sell the 22-year-old striker after growing tired of his lifestyle.

Balotelli was surprisingly left out of the City squad for Sunday's win over Spurs amid reports of a breach of club discipline - fuelling fresh speculation over his long-term future at the Etihad.

However, Prandelli has defended Balotelli, ahead of Italy's midweek friendly against France, by rejecting claims that his off-field behaviour is harming his City career.

"Mario told me that it was a technical choice of the coach," he said.

"He is not happy with what he is doing and he must try with matches and training to change Mancini's mind.

"He will have an opportunity with his national team and he must get ready.

"It is normal that the newspapers talk about him because he is a personality. But he should think about playing football."

Meanwhile, the relationship between Balotelli and Mancini is similar to a "husband and wife's", says the player's agent.

"They argue, but they love and respect each other so much," Mino Raiola told Radio CRC.

"Everyone has their own ideas, but Mario will remain at Manchester City. He won't go to AC Milan.

"He will be a City player for at least another two and a half years because Mario is not thinking about other clubs."