Mario Balotelli has revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic told him he would “never” make the grade at Inter Milan when the two played for the Italian side around a decade ago.
The Italian forward, now with Brescia, was a youngster trying to earn a breakthrough when Swedish star Ibrahimovic was a first-team regular.
And taking to Instagram in a Q-and-A session, Balotelli spoke about his memories of his former teammate — though perhaps there was an element of reverse psychology at play.
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Explaining what Zlatan said to him, Balotelli further revealed that the Swede had an altogether different message for his agent.
“When I was a kid, I looked at him and he told me that I would never train with the first team,” Balotelli said.
“He told me I wasn’t good enough to play for them.
“But then he went to (agent) Mino Raiola, telling him to take me because I was better than him.”
After both players left Inter, they have embarked on nomadic careers, with Zlatan reaching rather a higher level of consistency and quality than Balotelli has managed.
Both players have played for AC Milan more than once, where Ibrahimovic returned earlier this year, as well as playing in the north west of England for a short time – Zlatan at Manchester United and Balotelli with Liverpool.
The duo remain on the books of Raiola, who orchestrated his veteran client’s move back from MLS to the San Siro in January.
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