Tuesday 21 January 2020

Balotelli gatecrashes Inter press conference

Jamie Holland

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli underlined his reputation for the unpredictable yesterday when he turned up at an Inter Milan press conference at which Andrea Stramaccioni was unveiled as the club's new manager.

Balotelli knows Stramaccioni, who has been promoted from youth team coach, from his time at the Serie A giants and paid a visit to congratulate him on his appointment and see old friends.

To much amusement, Balotelli walked into the room as Stramaccioni addressed the media and shook his hand and those of other people at the top table before leaving.

Stramaccioni, who takes over from the sacked Claudio Ranieri with Inter 10 points adrift of the third and last Champions League qualifying place and 22 points behind rivals AC Milan in Serie A, hailed his appointment as a "beautiful dream come true."

The 36-year-old, who is Inter's fifth coach in the space of 22 months, led the Nerazzurri's youth team to victory over Ajax in the final of the inaugural NextGen Series in London last weekend.

Stramaccioni, a former Bologna player whose career was halted early by injury, had been Inter's youth coach for less than a year having joined from a similar role at AS Roma.

Inter had been linked with moves for Zenit St Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti and former Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas, who failed in his efforts to shake up an ageing squad at Stamford Bridge

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