Next Game

Melbourne Victory v Man City

Saturday, 18 July 2015, 08:00

Friendly Match

Mazzarri fancies Mario test

Napoli head coach Walter Mazzarri described the challenge of working with Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli as "stimulating", amid reports of a possible approach from the Serie A club.

Last Updated: 09/01/13 at 15:12 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli: Being chased by Napoli

Mario Balotelli: Being chased by Napoli

Azzurri president Aurelio De Laurentiis has admitted he would be interested in bringing the unsettled 22-year-old to the San Paolo as a strike partner for Edinson Cavani, or as a possible makeweight should City make a bid for the free-scoring Uruguayan.

AC Milan appeared to distance themselves from a rival approach for the Italy international when president Silvio Berlusconi described Balotelli as a "rotten apple", but Mazzarri is confident he could tame the capricious striker.

Quoted in La Repubblica, he told Radio Monte Carlo: "I do not know him personally. I spoke to him once a few years ago at a hotel in Sorrento.

"He made a good impression on me but only those who know him well can say what kind of problems he might create in training.

"I've got a bit of experience, though, and it would be stimulating to work with a talent like his, but I don't know if that would ever happen."

Azzurri president De Laurentiis had told Gazzetta.it: "Are City considering letting Balotelli go so they can move for Cavani?

"I would prefer to see Balotelli playing with Cavani here at Napoli.

"Teams tend to hold on to their best players in January. You take a big risk making big investments now.

"There is still time for us to bring in new faces but we must be cautious. On January 31 you will see what moves Napoli have made."

Saddened

Milan had previously been mooted as Balotelli's likely destination, with the Rossoneri appearing to free up the necessary funds and space in their squad with the 15million euro sale of Alexandre Pato to Corinthians, but Berlusconi told reporters at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich that any approach was unlikely.

"The name of Balotelli never came into my thoughts, he is a rotten apple and could infect every group where he goes, even Milan," the former Italian prime minister said.

Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola responded through Sport Mediaset, saying: "Mario and I are saddened by what Berlusconi said.

"Berlusconi doesn't know him, everyone who does know him loves him. (Milan vice-president) Adriano Galliani knows him and loves him.

"If someone asks me to introduce Mario to Berlusconi then I will do so with pleasure."

Balotelli has been linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium following a number of high profile incidents since he arrive in England from Inter Milan.

The latest occurred last Thursday, when he was pictured grappling with City boss Roberto Mancini.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

D

on't go to England at your age, you'll either be mugged or not appreciated. Or made to lump the ball long to a bloke who looks like a mascot.

megabrow (cufc)
Beckenbauer warns Schweinsteiger

F

rom the headline I presumed he meant boots, pants, jim-jams, toothbrush and paste, passport, tickets, premier inn long-term package, Scouse-English-Portuguese-German dictionary, 'How to be a 9 and 3/4' by B. Rodgers, few dozen tins of food and Evian because you can never be sure about the local food/water...

KevinBoatang
Firmino has 'everything' for PL - Willian

H

e looked like he was playing with a plastic pound shop ball in the wind against Juve, his passing was so bad.

paddy7s
Sergio Ramos: Exactly What United Need

Footer 365

England's Laura Bassett: 'I wish no-one knew my name'

Laura Bassett says she is still deeply hurting after her stoppage-time own goal ended England Women’s World Cup dream.

Gerrard turned down Euro move

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits he turned down a "couple of nice opportunities" to move to a club in Europe in order to sign for Los Angeles Galaxy.

Premier League fixtures on Sky Sports: Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City live on bumper 2015/16 opening weekend

Chelsea will begin their title defence exclusively live on Sky Sports, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City also on bumper opening bill.

Mail Box

Has Everyone Forgotten About Khedira?

Sami Khedira is one of the signings of the summer and yet he's flown completely under the radar. Plus Dommy S's views of women's football get a right old shoeing...

Women's Success Won't Alter Viewing Habits

The Women's World Cup hasn't inspired everyone. Also in the Mailbox: a plastic's guide to Brazil, Nani regrets, tears over Henry, and The Beach Boys...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company