Mario Balotelli shows up as Santa during stadium fan tour
Local youngsters were in for a treat during a tour of the Etihad Stadium, as Mario Balotelli surprised them by turning up as Father Christmas.
Last Christmas the Man City striker was at the centre of internet gossip - he had been spotted handing out 20-pound notes to passers-by in Manchester dressed in a blue and white Santa hat.
Sadly the Santa story appeared to be another wild rumour about the Italian footie ace, who insisted he was in the team hotel at the time.
But there was no mistaking Balotelli when he handed out presents to football-mad 11 and 12-year-olds from Mellands Specialist School in Gorton.
The youngsters also got to lift the Premier League trophy and got changed in the first team dressing room, the Daily Mail reported.
After being met by the regular tour guides the children bumped into defender Micah Richards as they got out of the lift on the way to the Press Conference room and then heard their names read out on the team sheet left by Roberto Mancini.
They then met another England star, midfielder James Milner, who had the silverware with him before the party entered the inner sanctum of the home dressing room where shirts bearing their names were hanging on the pegs used by the City superstars.
The surprises didn't end there though, as Santa Balotelli popped in to distribute presents and then the whole afternoon concluded with a penalty shoot-out against England No 1 Joe Hart and photos all around.
"It was all for the young children," Balotelli said.
"They really appreciated meeting all the players and we appreciated meeting them too.
"I hope we made their day and gave them an afternoon they will never forget. We all enjoyed it," he added.