Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted it is “disappointing” to witness Mario Balotelli’s struggles during his footballing career.
The Premier League winner praised the Italian’s technique after managing the forward, firstly at Inter Milan before bringing him to Manchester.
Balotelli‘s City career wasn’t short of stand out or controversial moments, with fans fondly remembering his time at the Etihad for his part in assisting Sergio Aguero‘s winning goal against QPR.
He spent three years with City scoring 20 goals in 54 league appearances but he has failed to settle and secure a place in the ventures that followed, including a disappointing two seasons with Liverpool where he managed just a single goal.
“I worked with Balotelli when he was young and did really well. He was and still is in terms of technique a great player. Let’s not forget he is 31 years old, so ought to be at his peak,” Mancini told RAI Sports as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“Clearly, it was disappointing for all of us who knew him as a person and a player that in the last five or six years he was unable to do what he was capable of doing.”
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Since his time with the Blues, he has played for eight different clubs and has seen his previously impressive time with the Italian national come to an end.
Now plying his trade in Turkey, he made the headlines again for the wrong reasons after lashing out following his withdrawal from Adana Demirspor’s league match.
The pair also had a fraught relationship, with Mancini hauling the forward off in the first half of a pre-season friendly during their tour of America after trying a fancy backheel as well as a training ground bust-up between the two.