Thursday, 30 April 2020

'Mourinho and Mancini tried but Guardiola might have taken to Balotelli'

The Italian striker has tested the patience of many coaches down throughout the years but could have thrived under Pep according to Micah Richards
Plenty of managers have had their run-ins with Mario Balotelli but Pep Guardiola may have enjoyed working him, according to the Italian's former team-mate Micah Richards.

Jose Mourinho, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Mancini - who was a huge believer in Balotelli's qualities - are among a host of coaches that have fallen out with the striker.

However, ex-Manchester City defender Richards says Guardiola might have hit it off with the now 29-year-old Brescia striker, although he's not sure how Balotelli might have reacted to his strict demands.

"Pep would probably like him. Pep is obviously passionate and some people can see it as over-the-top but he just genuinely loves football and Mario genuinely loves football as well, so he actually might have taken to him," Richards told Goal.

"But Pep's such a perfectionist on the field, if Mario wasn't hitting the heights that we all know he could, they might not see eye-to-eye.

"You see [Raheem] Sterling scoring a hat-trick or winning man of the match and Pep's shouting at him on the pitch - talking about what he could do better or why hasn't he done this. I don't think Mario would react the best to that. But on a more human level I think they'd get on because they're two top blokes."

Balotelli's time at the Etihad Stadium was littered with a number of off-field controversies including throwing a dart at a youth team player and letting off fireworks in his bathroom. He even had a training ground bust-up with Mancini but the former City boss repeatedly put his faith in his young striker.


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