Micah Richards has opened up about his infamous bust-up with Mario Balotelli on the training ground when they were both at Manchester City.
Richards and Balotelli are good friends, but pictures of the pair having a fight after a disagreement back in 2011 were widely publicised.
It remains an incident that is well remembered and is often used as evidence as part of why Balotelli can be such a risky player to add to a squad, but Richards has finally had his say on the incident today.
He said, in a compelling interview with the Guardian: “We were playing five-a-side and losing because Mario, being Mario, wasn’t tracking his runner. I was like: ‘Mario, ****’s sake, track your man.’ But you know what he’s like. He started swearing in Italian and waving his hands. I said: ‘Mario I’m not in the mood today.’ I lost my head, he lost his, and it was just bonkers. You couldn’t get away with anything at City because there were always photographers everywhere.”
The incident created rumours of serious ructions in the City camp, but Balotelli and Richards have both become close friends since and still speak, even though neither are at the Etihad anymore.
Richards completed a summer move from City to Fiorentina on loan, whilst Balotelli left the club to join AC Milan over a year ago - and has recently returned to England with Liverpool.
When signed by Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool boss admitted that he had taken a risk in signing Balotelli because of his past record for disruptions.
However, so far his behaviour has been exemplary. In training he has regularly been pictured laughing, rather than fighting, with teammates whilst on the pitch his attitude has also been excellent.
Balotelli was targeted to some rough treatment by Aston Villa in the Reds' most recent Premier League game, but he did not react to the punishment he was taking and must be credited for that.
He comes to Liverpool with a responsibility on his shoulders and the hope is that he will thrive with the increased pressure on him.
He was the club's marquee summer signing and someone they are relying on to score the goals to keep them in the top four, after working so hard to get back there last season.