Italian football star, Mario Balotelli has admitted that he missed some chances in football which prevented him from winning some of the awards Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi won in their careers.
Mario Balotelli stressed that though he can’t compare himself to Ronaldo and Messi in terms of the number of awards they have won, he is at the same level as them in terms of his quality as a footballer.
Note that Ronaldo (37-year-old) and Messi (34-year-old) are regarded as two of the greatest players to ever play football. Ronaldo who is currently playing for Manchester United has won the Ballon d’Or five times and the FIFA The Best player of the year award twice.
On the other hand, Messi who currently plays for Paris Saint Germain has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times and one FIFA The Best player of the year once.
All together, Ronaldo and Messi have won the Ballon d’Or 12 times in the last 13 years. No football rivals in the history of the game have been that successful.
While acknowledging the successes of Ronaldo and Messi, Mario Balotelli who now plays for Turkish Super Lig side Demirspor stressed that he is not jealous of the two football legends.
Balotelli who made his name at Inter Milan, Manchester City, and AC Milan told The Athletic that no player can compare himself to Ronaldo and Messi.
“I missed some chances to be at that level”, Mario Balotelli admitted.
“But I am 100 percent sure that my quality is the same level as these people, but I… I missed some chances, you know? It happens.
“And nowadays, I cannot say I’m as good as Ronaldo, because Ronaldo won how many golden balls (Ballons d’Or)? Five? You cannot compare yourself to Messi and Ronaldo, nobody can.
“But if we’re talking about only quality, football quality, I have nothing to be jealous of them, to be honest.”
Mario Balotelli reveals his biggest mistake in football
Mario Balotelli admitted that he would have won at least one Ballon d’Or at Manchester City if he had the mindset he currently has. The 31-year-old Italian striker admitted that his biggest mistake was leaving Manchester City in 2013.
Recall that Balotelli joined Manchester City on August 12, 2010, from Inter Milan for a transfer fee worth €29.50 million. Between 2010 and 2013, the Italian striker scored 30 goals and provided 7 assists in 80 games in all competitions.
Aside from the good side of helping Manchester City to win their first Premier League title, Balotelli’s time at Manchester City was characterized by a series of controversies, red cards, bans, and fallout with the then coach of the club, Roberto Mancini.
Balotelli was so difficult to control that Mancini told reporters on April 6, 2012, that he wished he could punch Balotelli in his head every day.
“I told him, if you played with me 10 years ago I would give you every day maybe one punch in your head. There are different ways to help a guy like Mario”, Mancini who has now reunited with Balotelli in Italy’s national team said.
“I don’t speak with him every day, otherwise I would need a psychologist, but I speak with him because I don’t want him to lose his quality. If Mario is not one of the best players in the world it will be his fault because he has everything. Mario can be one of the top players in Europe. I don’t want him to lose his talent.”
On April 8, 2012, following Balotelli’s dismissal against Arsenal, coach Mancini told reporters that he was done advising the Italian footballer.
The coach said then: “I’ve finished my words for him. I’ve finished. I love him as a guy, as a player. I know him. He’s not a bad guy and [he] is a fantastic player. But, at this moment, I’m very sorry for him because he continues to lose his talent, his quality. I hope, for him, he can understand that he’s in a bad way for his future. And he can change his behavior in the future. But I’m finished.”
About nine years after leaving Manchester City for AC Milan for just €20 million on January 31, 2013, Mario Balotelli told The Athletic that he now understands that he should not have left Manchester City then.
“I think that was my biggest mistake, to leave City,” Balotelli said. “Even in the year when I left, I played very well in Milan for a year and a half, but after that, I had some problems. And now that I’m older, I know that I shouldn’t have left City at that time.
“All these years seeing City improving, improving and improving. I could have been here like Sergio Aguero for a long time.
“If I had my mindset now, when I was at City, probably one golden ball (Ballon d’Or) I could have won, I’m sure about this. But you know, when you grow up, you mature more.”
Mario Balotelli who has been with Turkish side Adana Demirspor since July 7, 2021, after leaving an Italian side Monza on a free transfer has scored 11 goals and provided 5 assists in 24 games so far this season. His renewed form made Robert Mancini invite him back to Italy’s national team.