Former Inter and Manchester City star Mario Balotelli says his heart is split in two over the Champions League final next month. SuperMario featured for both of the European finalists during his eventful career and speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, he admitted he’s finding it hard to pick a winner:
“I have received many invitations for the final in Istanbul, I am undecided: I think I will sit in the middle of the stadium, to avoid misunderstandings.”
“My heart is split in half, better not to say anything else. My head tells me I’d like them both to win. But you can’t.”
Now Inter are in good shape.
“Undoubtedly. And they have many players who are difference makers. Starting with my friend Dzeko, but I wouldn’t overlook Lukaku and the unbridled Lautaro: his second goal against the Viola was beautiful.”
Everyone gives City as the favourites.
“Experience tells me that in the final, in a one-off match, it is better to arrive underdogs. And in any case Guardiola’s team expresses great football, but Inzaghi’s team is also very effective’.
What do you remember of your Nerazzurri Champions League?
“The goal against Rubin Kazan made me feel like a protagonist, for me it was a wonderful experience: a boy touching the sky with one finger. And then lifting that cup, I still get the shivers.”
Immediately afterwards you were the king of the Premier League at City with Dzeko…
“With Edin there was an incredible feeling. When he came to Italy I told some Roman friends straight away: ‘wait for him, he’s a phenomenon’. Even at Milan he makes the difference. I have many good memories of that year, starting with that double against United.
You were at the San Siro for the recent CL derby.
“The atmosphere on the best evenings. I saw a lot of people, including Leao. I advised him to stay at A.C. Milan: there’s a prospective team, with some reinforcements he can say his play anywhere.”
Haaland against everyone: is that really the case?
“Erling is extraordinary. Mino Raiola had great intuition about him too. In City there are plenty of assist men: Guardiola knows very how to get him service and he is a formidable sniper.”
So he can settle the game?
“I didn’t say that. Inter also have top strikers. It will be very open.”
Who is the strongest striker in the world?
“The numbers say Haaland, but for me it’s a matter of taste. Osimhen, for example, is special. On the pitch he can do everything, a bit like me in my green years. And then he’s a unique guy.
Did you celebrate Napoli’s Scudetto?
“Of course. I feel connected to the city. With my daughter a part of Naples is always with me. And then Spalletti’s team deserved it.”
How long has it been since he spoke to Roberto Mancini?
“I was waiting for a call from him before Macedonia. I don’t know what happened.”
Your love for the national team has remained intact.
“Of course. The jersey is one thing, then relationships with individuals are another story.”
Would you return to Italy?
“Slowly, I have another year of contract with Sion. But Serie A would remain a fascinating goal.”
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