Balotelli: Mourinho couldn't handle me but Mancini knows best
Published 23:01 07/05/11 By Simon Mullock
Mario Balotelli was once described by Jose Mourinho as “unmanageable.”
Manchester City’s 20-year-old striker believes his former coach at Inter Milan was simply failing to recognise a kindred spirit.
Arrogant, volatile, unpredictable – and sometimes utterly brilliant. The same adjectives that might describe Mourinho also fit Balotelli.
He is the enfant terrible who can throw darts at youth-team players in the morning, then bung a grand in cash to a tramp in the street after a successful night in the casino.
Like Mourinho, the Italian has a charisma that is impossible to resist. After he has spent two hours alongside Patrick Vieira serving up tea and sympathy to the patients of St Ann’s Hospice in Cheshire, Balotelli conducts his most revealing interview since Roberto Mancini persuaded City to pay Inter £24million last summer.
For someone who describes himself as “shy”, and who admits to a deep suspicion of the media, Balotelli still manages to make a compelling case for his sanity.
Apparently, he isn’t mad. Just misunderstood.
“Maybe he [Mourinho] said these things about me because he could not manage me,” says Balotelli without a hint of malice in his voice.
“I don’t know why. He couldn’t understand me. Mancini is now doing what Mourinho couldn’t do, so...
“Mancini is so different from Mourinho. They are both great managers, but they are different men.
“Mancini supports me. Mourinho was different. Whenever I had a problem, Mourinho always went against me. Mancini always supports me. I think that Mourinho did what he did because maybe we have the same character.
“Mancini helps me. When I got sent off against Kiev [in the Europa League] he killed me. He said: ‘You’re an idiot, I don’t know why I bought you’. But then with the media he was supportive of me. If Roberto has something to say to me he says it – and he never lies.”
And just in case there is anyone in the corridors of power still thinking of replacing Mancini with the Special One, Balotelli adds: “City have never been in the Champions League, but here were are in fourth position.
“We are in the Final of the FA Cup. So I don’t know why anyone would want another coach here.
“Roberto is doing very well. Why should he be changed?”
Balotelli admits that his first year in England has been difficult, without his family and friends. He earns a friendly slap from Vieira when he describes the 34-year-old Frenchman he also played alongside at Inter as “more like a father than a brother”.
But the beaming smile is soon replaced by a more serious mask as he says: “When I first came here it was difficult. Why? Because I came from another country and I am only 20. I also had two difficult injuries.
“But the idea people have of me is not correct. I am shy. I like to do what normal 20-year-old guys like to do.
“There are things I regret. But people don’t always do the right thing, do they?
“Next season I think my family will come over to live with me, and it will be better.
“There hasn’t been one match this season when I have played at my best level. My normal level is better than most players, but when I play at my best then I know I am one of the best in the game.”
In other words, a little bit ‘Special’ too.