Former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager, Roberto Mancini, has spoken about his relationship with Mario Balotelli, saying: “I was certain he would become world class.”
The 52-year-old launched Balotelli’s career by giving him his Serie A debut at the age of 16 with Nerazzurri before they went on to win Serie A together in 2008.Also, Read; 5 Real Madrid players that do not have future with the club
The pair linked up once again in the Premier League at Manchester City, also winning a title there in dramatic circumstances back in 2012.
However, their relationship turned sour somewhat when the pair were seen clashing
during a training session at the Etihad before they ended up moving on to different clubs.
Balotelli is currently at French side Nice where he enjoyed an explosive start – his time there has stalled somewhat after disciplinary and injury problems – and Mancini has now opened up on the forward.
“Balotelli has great technical quality. He must understand that he has the potential to be world class,” Mancini told Soccer Laduma. “He is fantastic as a player and as a person – for better or for worse. He is a special player for me for all that he has done on the field, and even off it. I respect him a lot.
“I just hope he understands that he has the possibility to become a great player on a different level. I gave him his Serie A debut at 16 – I like to play the youngsters.
“Mario came across a coach who had the courage to let the youngsters play, but anyone would have seen his qualities, and how he is a cold blooded player. He was very impressionable – I was certain he would become world class.
“When I went to Manchester City, I told the managers to buy him. He needed to adapt to a new type of football, and a lot of people provoked him – the media worshiped him, though. It seems that the whole world has something to say about him, and, at times, it can be draining.”
Balotelli left Manchester City in 2013 to join AC Milan, before he then had a poor spell with Liverpool which prompted him to return to Milan on loan, and then move to France permanently last year.
Mario Balotelli has notched 12 goals in 22 appearances for Nice this current campaign.