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Japan's tactical prowess shines through

U-17 World Cup
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City deny Balotelli 'paternity leave' report

Manchester City have denied reports that striker Mario Balotelli is set to take two weeks off over Christmas.

A report in Tuesday's Daily Star claimed that, with Balotelli's girlfriend Raffaella Fico due to give birth on December 25, the Italy international had requested the festive period off work.

The report cited Gareth Bale's recent absence from a match for Tottenham due to the birth of his first child before stating that Balotelli was taking things further by missing four games for his club over one of the busiest periods of the Premier League season.

However, a City spokesman has confirmed there is "no basis" to the reports after checking with the club's HR department, coaching staff and the 22-year-old's representatives.

The spokesman said: "No request relating to paternity leave has been made by the player/his representative or received by the club."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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