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Brendan Rodgers jokes Mario Balotelli was the best player he ever coached despite flopping at Liverpool… and Balotelli responded

Celtic boss Rodgers made the gag at the club's awards evening about his former striker, who scored just once during his time at Anfield

BRENDAN RODGERS joked that Mario Balotelli was the best player he ever trained – and the player responded just a day later.

The Celtic gaffer was in good spirits at the club’s Player of the Year awards on Sunday night when he made the tongue-in-cheek claim.

Balotelli had a torrid time at Liverpool under Rodgers scoring just one goal in one season

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Balotelli had a torrid time at Liverpool under Rodgers scoring just one goal in one season

During a Q and A the former Liverpool and Swansea boss was asked by a Hoops fan, who the best player he has coached was.

He laughed: “Mario Balotelli! He was a fantastic player.”

But he has been in much better form for Nice since leaving England

Reuters
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But he has been in much better form for Nice since leaving England

Rodgers has admitted he never wanted to bring the Italian to Liverpool, revealing he was signed by the club’s transfer committee.

The Hoops boss added: “As a manager who has worked with fantastic players throughout my career I would never say one individual because each club has its own personality and players.

Rodgers jokes the Italian was the best player he'd ever managed

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Rodgers jokes the Italian was the best player he’d ever managed

“The types of players, the iconic players, all I want to see is a player just maximising his talent.”

The remark sent the room of Celtic fans into hysterics, knowing the 26-year-old had an awful time at Anfield, scoring just one goals in one season at Liverpool before leaving for AC Milan.

Brendan Rodgers and his Celtic team celebrate their title success at winning the Scottish title

Reuters
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Brendan Rodgers and his Celtic team celebrate their title success at winning the Scottish title
Mario Balotelli has been back to his goalscoring best at French club Nice

He eventually went to Nice in French Ligue 1 on a permanent deal, where he has been in much better form with 14 goals in 18 starts.

And just a day after the jibe, a sarcastic Balotelli Tweeted his response, saying: "Brendan Rodgers you are also the best manager I ever had. Amazing," complete with laughing emojis.

A Celtic fan has created a bizarre Brendan Rodgers tribute - with a Freddie Mercury twist

In fairness to Rodgers, he has done well since leaving Liverpool in 2015, joining Celtic last year where he has already won the Scottish Premiership, on course for the 100 points mark.

He also won the Scottish League Cup with the Bhoys in November, and guided them to the 2017 Scottish Cup final.