Mario Balotelli confesses he was on the verge of joining Juventus after Manchester City. ‘It would’ve been smarter for me, but I followed my heart to Milan.’
The Brescia striker rarely gives interviews, but sat down with a friend on Instagram Live during the lockdown today.
“Adriano Galliani wanted me at Milan. After Manchester City, I was going to Juve and was ok with that, but then Galliani got in the way and when I heard Milan were involved, I lost it,” Balotelli told Er Faina.
“As you know, I am a fan of Milan, so I followed my heart. At the time, Milan were seventh or eighth in the table, so it would’ve been smarter for me to go to Juventus, but I have Milan in my heart.
“To be honest, I love Inter too. Juve would’ve been a practical choice and I did think about it, but then I chose with my heart.”
Balotelli worked with Mourinho at Inter during the early years of his career.
“We got along, there were just a few discussions, with no lack of respect. It only happened once, I can’t remember why, but he dropped me for two games. Other than that, we got along well.
“I remember after winning the Champions League, he stepped on to the bus and I was already practically asleep at the back, but he was hugging everyone and crying, they were all crying.”
Asked for his most emotional moment in football, Balotelli pointed to the Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany.
“It wasn’t so much during the game as afterwards. That was emotional. I went to hug my mother in the stands and she couldn’t stop crying. After a while I had to ask, are you going say something to me or just cry?! It was special.
“The biggest disappointment was the Final against Spain, because we really were not at 100 per cent that day. I’d love to play that game again.”
SuperMario was asked where he sees himself in 20 years.
“I have no idea. If I was to be a coach… I have a bit of a tricky character, so I don’t know how I’d react if a young man was rude to me. Rudeness drives me crazy in general, let alone if I was meant to be in charge. Perhaps I’d like to work with kids more than professionals.”
He is, it’s safe to say, well-travelled, but seems to have found something he was looking for in France.
“I had passionate fans everywhere, the Manchester City ones loved me, but the most passionate of all were in Marseille. It was like Napoli going into that stadium.
“When I went to Nice in 2016, I didn’t have many offers, or not as many as I was used to. Mino Raiola told me to go to Nice, I didn’t even know there was a club there. Just arriving there it was such a spectacular city.
“I had come off Liverpool and Milan, I had this recurring injury, so I was frankly s**t at the time. I had offers from two Premier League clubs and Nice, but I wasn’t as psychologically strong as I am now, so I just couldn’t be bothered to live in England at that time. Everyone I met at Nice was so nice, some great players arrived, it was not a bad team at all.
“I had two fantastic years there. Fantastic.”