Francesco Totti nearly retired after kick on Mario Balotelli in Inter Milan v Roma

  • Kat Lucas
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Mario Balotelli has always proved divisive wherever he's played. 

The Italian basically hit the nail on the head with his 'Why Always Me?' undershirt at Manchester City and it's not just his erratic goalscoring record which has on occasion made him unpopular.

Balotelli has had his fair share of controversy, from being arrested for an unauthorised entry into the grounds of a women's prison, setting off fireworks in his own house, or even just admitting his penchant for AC Milan while he was an Inter player. 

Jose Mourinho also told the famous story of the striker's sending off again Rubin 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," Mourinho said. 

“Mario got a yellow card in the 42nd minute, so when I got to the dressing room at half-time I spend about 14 minutes of the 15 available 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.’

“The 46th minute – red card!”

In his prime, Balotelli was capable of making opponents lose their cool too - something Francesco Totti can vouch for. 

In 2010, the Roma captain was sent off for viciously kicking out at the Nerazzurri forward from behind.

Totti was given a four-match ban. 

It began a long-standing feud between the pair, but Totti later admitted he had deliberately kicked him "to hurt him" having been frustrated by 'Super Mario' comments for a long time. 

“My kick at Balotelli? He’d been provocative for years," he told La Repubblica (h/t Football Italia).

"He insulted me and the Roma fans. It was building up and then it exploded.

“It was a horrible foul, just to hurt him. But then, strangely, the Inter players didn’t confront me.

“As I left the field, Maicon even gave me five. The feeling was that even among his teammates, Balotelli created some irritation." 

If you watch the footage again closely, you can indeed see Maicon appear to acknowledge the departing Giallorossi skipper. You know you're not popular in the dressing room when your teammates are congratulating opponents for kicking you in the thigh...

Despite his brazen actions on the day, Totti did admit to being remorseful. In fact, he even considered hanging up his boots early over the incident. 

"It's true that I thought about quitting at the end of last season," he told a press conference, via Goal.

"There was a moment in which I really thought about stopping." 

It would have been a huge loss if the game had lost the legendary World Cup winner prematurely over one futile incident when he lost his cool. 

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