Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was full of praise for striker Mario Balotelli after the striker's brace in victory against Manchester United.
The Italian, who was in the headlines over the weekend for an incident relating to a firework in a hotel bathroom, scored the opener in the first half, was pulled down by Jonny Evans for the defender's red card and scored his side's second to put the Citizens on their path to a famous 6-1 win.
Whilst the player's off-field antics continue to amuse, it's his ability on the pitch which has Mancini glowing, and the manager is confident he can become one of the world's best if he knuckles down on the training ground.
“The problem is he’s young and sometimes he can make some mistakes but as a player he is incredible. The important thing was that Mario and his friend were okay," said the manager in relation to the firework incident.
"If you want to talk about Mario the football player I think we can put him up in the first five players in the world.
“I hope the day arrives for Mario, and for football in general, that he changes his mind completely. Because when he does that he will become one of the best three players in the world, like Messi, like Ronaldo.”
Defensive midfielder Gareth Barry was full of praise for the team effort in victory rather than choosing specific individuals to praise for the victory.
The England international was in fine form at Old Trafford himself, but insists the players aren't getting carried away with the nature of the victory and concentrating on picking up some more wins.
“It’s just a fantastic feeling [to have beaten Man United], as soon as we went 3-0 up we thought the result was ours,” he told talkSPORT post-match.
“In the dressing room afterwards everyone realised what a massive result it is but to be fair to the manager he quickly played it down and made the point it is only three points and it’s still early doors in the season.
“But we’ve got to enjoy today because results like that don’t come around too often. People probably can get carried away and it will be great for our confidence. It was only three points and the manager realised that straight away, but it was a fantastic result.”
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