Jose Mourinho famously described Mario Balotelli as “unmanageable” during his spell with Inter Milan – but that doesn’t mean the Portuguese coach doesn’t have a soft spot for the Italian striker.
“Jose [Mourinho] acts like a grandpa and pretends we caused him a lot of trouble – but he has admitted to me that he had the most fun coaching players like us,” Balotelli told reporters back in 2014.
“He knew there was never going to be a boring moment for him.”
It’s no surprise that Mourinho hasn’t attempted to re-sign Balotelli since, though. It’s just not worth the hassle.
Now 26, Balotelli isn’t as unruly as he once was, but he’s still far from an angel. Just ask Nice’s head coach Lucien Favre.
Mourinho’s hilarious Balotelli story
Mourinho summed up what it was like to manage Balotelli with one particularly hilarious story he told to CNN’s Pedro Pinto back in 2012.
“I could write a book of 200 pages of my two years at Inter with Mario, but the book would not be a drama – it would be a comedy,” the current Manchester United manager, who told the story during his spell with Real Madrid, said.
“I remember one time when we went to play Kazan in the Champions League. In that match I had all my strikers injured. No Diego Milito, no Samuel Eto’o, I was really in trouble and Mario was the only one.
“Mario got a yellow card in minute 42 or 43, so when I got to the dressing room at half-time I spend about 14 minutes of the 15 speaking only to Mario.
“I said to him: ‘Mario, I cannot change you, I have no strikers on the bench, so don’t touch anybody and play only with the ball. If we lose the ball no reaction. If someone provokes you, no reaction, if the referee makes a mistake, no reaction. Mario – please’.
“Minute 46 – red card!”
Watch Mourinho tell the story here…
Video: Balotelli’s red card v Rubin Kazan
However, we must point out that Balotelli wasn’t actually send off in the 46th minute. He was dismissed in the 60th minute.
Mourinho’s memory must have been playing him up at the time – or maybe he wanted to add a bit more drama to the story.
You can see why Balotelli was sent off by skipping to 2.05 in this video…