Balotelli refuses to back down

MILAN - Inter Milan's teenage forward Mario Balotelli said he was refusing to back down in a row with coach Jose Mourinho that has led to him being frozen out of action for a month.

Mourinho again left Balotelli out of his squad for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at home against CSKA Moscow, amid media reports that the Portuguese is waiting for an apology for an incident in training.

"I'm not so stupid to miss five matches (unnecessarily). If an apology were due, I would have given it before," Balotelli was quoted as saying by Italian media.

"Being as I'm right, I'm not apologising."

The row is the latest in a series of run-ins between Mourinho and the talented 19-year-old, who has been linked to Premier League Arsenal and Inter's city rivals AC Milan.

Fellow forward Samuel Eto'o said he was confident Inter would do fine without Balotelli against CSKA, even though the Serie A leaders' recent form on the domestic front has been poor.

"The group is more important than each individual player," Eto'o said. "He knows what he has to do if he wants to return to the squad. Tomorrow he won't be missed because there are other players."

Mourinho refused to answer questions about Balotelli at Tuesday's news conference.

But he did comment on the one-match bans CSKA defenders Sergei Ignashevich and Alexei Berezutsky were given for breaking doping regulations in November's 3-3 draw with Manchester United in the group stage of the competition.

CSKA said the players had taken a cold medicine revealed by drugs tests which was not on a banned list but still needed to be disclosed.

"We respect the opposition, although they are opponents who have had something grey on the path up to here," Mourinho said.

"If doping checks find a substance that is not permitted in the competition in two players, there is something grey."

CSKA boss Leonid Slutsky defended his players.

"There are not dopers," he said. "The substance they took was not on the banned list."

NEWS: Mourinho fed up with Balotelli behaviour

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