Friday December 30 2011
‘Balotelli only best under Mancini’

Mario Balotelli’s agent has praised Roberto Mancini’s handling of his client and suggested that former Inter Coach Jose Mourinho ‘never believed in his talent’.

The 21-year-old Palermo-born forward has been in impressive form this season, from scoring the opening two goals in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, to netting nine more in all competitions to already match his career-best goal-tally for a season.

“Balotelli is a great player, like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic,” commented Mino Raiola, who also represents the Swedish striker. “He can play with and for everyone. Mario as good as a first or second striker and within a short time can become the best player in the world.”

Raiola then looked to explain the development of consistency on the pitch from his client, suggesting that the support of his manager in England has been most important.

“It is true that he can only give his best with Mancini. Obviously I am grateful first and foremost to the Coach that at City he is maturing and growing in an incredible way, unlike under Mourinho, who did not believe in him.

“I do not know whether he will spend all of his career with Mancini, this is really hard to believe, but I am grateful to the Italian Coach because he has bought him in his darkest moment of his career.”

Balotelli moved to Manchester in August 2010 after clashes in his last season with then-Inter boss Mourinho.

Raiola also took time to comment on speculation linking another client - former Inter left-back Maxwell - with a move to Milan.

“It is hard for him to come to Milan because the Rossoneri have two left-backs in the squad already and do not want to flood the department. And then he costs a lot.

“To purchase anyone new, Milan have to wait until January 4 or 5.”