Paper Round: Balotelli ordered to see hypnotist

Roberto Mancini has ordered Mario Balotelli to see a hypnotist, according to Wednesday's papers.

Paper Round: Balotelli ordered to see hypnotist

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Manchester City's Mario Balotelli

The Daily Mail reports that Mancini is so worried about Balotelli's smoking habit that he has told him to try hypnosis to try and kick the habit - or if he'd prefer not to, then to see a psychiatrist.

The Daily Star conjectures that Balotelli has been told to try both approaches at once in a desperate attempt to find something that will work. The player was apparently spotted smoking at a nightspot a few days ago when he should have been resting ahead of an eye operation for a problem that City bosses apparently fear has been exacerbated by the player's smoking habit.

The Sun's back page leads with surprising news that Manchester United failed with a huge bid for Brazilian superstar Neymar.

Alex Ferguson apparently made a last-ditch bid for £38 million on transfer deadline day to try and lure the 20-year-old - who famously made an advert last year ridiculing the idea that he would rather move to England than stay in Brazil.

And it seems that while Santos might have accepted the offer, Neymar himself turned the opportunity down because he wants to remain in Brazil until after the 2014 World Cup, which is to be played in his home nation.

But if the deal had gone through, where would that have left Wayne Rooney? In the exact same place, according to the player himself, whose latest volume of autobiography is serialised in the Daily Mirror.

"I'm happy at Manchester United, despite the downs that sometimes take place at a football club," Rooney says, talking about the time last season when he was dropped for going out on Boxing Day against the manager's orders.

In the same passage he also sneakily gets in a dig at Sir Alex Ferguson that he (okay, his ghost writer) manages to try and dress up as a compliment: "At a lot of other clubs people wouldn't bat an eyelid at players having a night out six days before a game. But that's the difference at Manchester United and a mark of the high standards the manager demands."

Other bombshells include how he puts on weight when he drinks more and does less exercise, how he doesn't like being injured, and how he had hair transplants because he didn't like being bald. EL James can rest assured that her place at the top of the bestsellers' list is not under threat.

The Independent runs a long piece based on Jermain Defoe's words at the England press conference on Wednesday, in which the Tottenham striker suggested that Tottenham went "mad" during the transfer window.

"You walked into the changing rooms, see the lads and didn't know if you would see them the next day. It is funny. I was away to have my wisdom tooth out one day, came (back) in and Tom (Huddlestone) had gone to Stoke."

Defoe's interview earns plenty of column inches in several other papers, with the player insisting that the string of personal tragedies that have followed him in the last few years - among them his father's premature death from throat cancer and the killing of his half-brother - have given him better perspective in his life, and how "you realise your family is more important".

"Life is short. While you are here it is important to enjoy the good times," he concludes. "I don't get nervous. I just enjoy it. I am living the dream."

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