Mancini and Mario
Published 31/01/2013 | 12:47
MARIO BALOTELLI has completed his move from Manchester City to AC Milan, splitting him from his loyal manager Roberto Mancini.
Mancini gave Balotelli considerable support during his two-and-a-half years at City, but voiced his frustration on numerous occasions.
Here, we look back at some of Mancini's comments on Balotelli.
"If we want to talk about Mario as a football player, I put him in the first five players in the world. The problem is his age, he is young and maybe sometimes can do some mistakes."
Mancini overlooks Balotelli's infamous fireworks indiscretion to hail his two-goal display against Manchester United.
"It's not a problem for me because I'm not his father or his mother. But if he was my son, I'd give him a kick up the ***."
Mancini urges Balotelli to quit smoking.
"I don't trust Mario. No-one trusts Mario."
Mancini struggles to keep a hold on Balotelli during a period in which the pair had a row and the player underlined his unpredictable reputation by gatecrashing an Inter Milan press conference.
"I told him, if you played with me 10 years ago I would give you every day, maybe, one punch in your head."
Mancini admits he could understand why team-mates might get frustrated with Balotelli.
"I am finished. We have six games and he will not play in the next six games."
Mancini's patience appears to snap after a Balotelli red card in a disastrous defeat at Arsenal in April 2012 appears to cost City the Premier League title. Balotelli returned to play a key role in City's final-game title triumph.
"I can't close him in his house, it is impossible."
Mancini is not concerned by reports Balotelli had been spotted in Manchester city centre after he missed a game through illness.
"He has everything to be one of the best players in the world. He could be like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if he understands that to be like this you should work hard."
Despite their differences, Mancini's faith in Balotelli's ability never waned.
"I will give him another 100 chances if I think it's possible he can change."
Mancini forgives Balotelli after a training-ground bust-up, but the player would leave the club less than four weeks later.
"We are also sad because Mario was an important player for us."
With a heavy heart, Mancini admits Balotelli is to leave City.