Mancini on Balotelli: 'I hope he can imitate Ibrahimovic'

Mario Balotelli Italy

Roberto Mancini has been the biggest coaching influence on Mario Balotelli and the current Inter boss has revealed his hopes for the Liverpool flop.

Mario Balotelli is in a slump at Liverpool, but his former boss at Inter and Manchester City still thinks he can follow in the footsteps of a stellar ex-teammate.

Balotelli made his name at Inter under the tutelage of Roberto Mancini and the two men then met up against at City.

While Mancini was often driven crazy by his enigmatic pupil, there was a close bond between the two and it has been rumoured that the new Inter tactician wants to bring Super Mario back to San Siro.

When asked about Balotelli's current predicament, Mancini compared him to another volatile former charge: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"Mario can imitate Ibrahimovic, but Zlatan is a few years older and has accumulated experience, class and quality that Mario still has to develop despite his years of playing," Mancini said during a talk at Milan's Bocconi University.

"Balotelli will get that chance and, certainly, back in those days playing together they were extraordinary. I hope that Mario can become like Zlatan."

Under Mancini, Balotelli appeared to be developing into a world-class player, but he was always prone to misbehaviour off the pitch and games where he seemed disinterested.

The worry for Liverpool fans is that very little seems to have changed over the last four years since Balotelli signed for Man City and, if anything, he appears to more inconsistent than he was under Mancini.

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