Evra claims Balotelli pines for Italy return
Balotelli was dropped from the City squad which took on Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and is unlikely to find himself in the starting line-up on Saturday when his side takes on Aston Villa.
The former Inter Milan player has been a magnet for controversy since he arrived at City in 2010, and the 22-year-old's career at the club is believed to be coming to an end sooner rather than later, with Citizens manager Roberto Mancini seemingly running out of patience with the volatile Italian international.
And Evra has further fuelled speculation of Balotelli's departure from the club by claiming the striker is homesick and wishes to return to Italy to play football.
"Mario really misses Italy," Evra was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
"I don't know if he will stay in Manchester, because he wants to return to his country. I am not his agent - I am only telling you how he feels.
"He is my rival in Manchester - I meet him a lot, I know him well. Off the pitch, we joke around and I take the micky out of him."
City coach Angelo Gregucci also remained coy when talking about Balotelli's future at the club, but claimed the striker would still be able to contribute on a footballing level this season.
"Mancini has chosen to give him a signal, and it is his right to make choices," Gregucci said.
"Perhaps during the last week something was missing, but Mario is ready to take back the Manchester City shirt.
"Will he stay? It's not up to me to say. I just know that he is definitely sellable. He has 22 years of talent and quality.
"He is a resource of our football club. He will give his contribution to the national team and to City."
City, currently second in the table on 25 points, will leapfrog arch-rivals Manchester United [27 points] with a win over Villa, although the Red Devils will reclaim top-spot if they beat Norwich.