Soccer

Ex-Man City boss Mancini hammers Mario Balotelli for spectacular fall from grace

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Italy's boss Roberto Mancini has hit out at Mario Balotelli, who the 56-year-old worked with while at Manchester City.

Mancini admitted that Super Mario, who just turned 31-year-old last month, should be at the peak of his powers.

However, the former City man is currently plying his trade for the newly-promoted Turkish Super Lig side Adana Demirspor.

"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 Sport.

"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."

Mancini was always a big fan of Balotelli, despite the pair coming to blows a couple of times at Manchester City.

“He was good fun. Mario was harmless,” Great Barry – Balotelli's former teammate – told talkSPORT.

“He was an immature little rogue who liked messing around in training, getting in trouble, winding the manager up.

"You’ve seen the images of Mancini having him around the neck in training because he’s not listening."

What do you think of Balotelli's latest move? Let us know in the comments section

Hopes were high for Balotelli's future when he arrived in Manchester, but he never managed to live up to expectations.

Spells at AC Milan and Liverpool were unable to turn his fortunes as Balotelli struggled to find the net and then a place in the first team.

There was a small renaissance in Nice, on the French Riviera, but it was short-lived after a move to Marseille saw Balotelli struggle again.

Before his move to Turkey, Super Mario had been playing for Monza in the Serie B.

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Mancini, on the other hand, recently led Italy to Euro 2020 with a penalty shoot-out victory against England.

It was the first time since 2012 Italy had been to a major tournament final, and that time it was Balotelli's goals that had fired them there.

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