Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has revealed a picture of what happened behind the scenes during his burst-up with Mario Balotelli that eventually led to the exit of the Italian.
“In a training session, I said to players not to make stupid tackles on Gael [Clichy] because he was just coming back from injury. And then, Mario made a strong tackle on him. I was furious. I grabbed him by the collar wanting to push him but he is so strong physically,” Mancini said to L’Equipe.
Mario Balotelli suffers poor public acceptance due to his off the field activities, particularly when he moved to England. His spat with Mancini eventually led to his exit from the City squad.
“He came to conflict with some teammates because of his behavior, and he wanted to return to Italy. I was disappointed that he wanted to leave because he should have done so much more in an extraordinary championship,” the former Etihad manager added.
Balotelli currently plies his trade with Nice after leaving Liverpool. His move to France has seen his rebirth and Mancini is calling for his return to the Italian national team side. Mancini said he gave Balotelli his debut at 17 years because he was certain he would become world class. He said Balotelli was calm on the pitch, but could not handle the pressure. He confessed that he respected Balotelli and says he has “the possibility of becoming a player of the highest-level.”
“If Mario today doesn’t play for the Italy side, it is his fault. It is incredible that he is not the starting centre-forward for his national side. He is the best Italian striker of the last few years,” Mancini opined in his L’Equipe interview.