Mario Balotelli has responded to Zlatan Ibramhimovic’s comment that the Italian striker is an ‘mediocre’ player by insisting that his words were taken out of context.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward appeared to criticise his former Inter Milan colleague, along with ex-club Barcelona last week when quizzed about rumours linking the Manchester City with a move to Real Madrid.
'Balotelli to Madrid? I cannot see it,' Ibrahimovic was quoted as saying by Honduran website www.diez.hn.
'I would put him more towards Barcelona. A mediocre team and a mediocre player.'
However Balotelli, who has returned to Manchester City from international duty with England, denies the Swede said anything derogatory about him and isists the pair have a good relationship from their days together at Inter Milan.
Speaking on Italian television, the Citizens forward said: "It isn't true, it isn't true, he and I are very good friends, we played together, we have a high esteem one for each other.
“What they wrote on newspapers is a silly lie, on the contrary from what I know he got upset seeing what they wrote."
Balotelli added he was frustrated with the media’s attempts to drive a wedge between the pair.
"because it isn't good when they change the words. When they do interviews, They should write what people say, not what people don't say."
The Manchester City striker returns to the Etihad Stadium after scoring and earning the applause of the San Siro in Italy's 3-2 victory over Denmark this week.