BAD boy Mario Balotelli has only to blame himself for not reaching the heights of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Roberto Mancini, the Italian striker’s former boss at Manchester City, insists Balotelli is full of natural talent.
So much, in fact, that his career should have mirrored that of Real Madrid maestro Ronaldo.
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Instead, a series of bust-ups with managers and unsavoury off-the-field incidents have condemned the 26-year-old to that of a trouble-making also-ran.
But Mancini, who managed Balotelli at Manchester City when the club won the Premier League in 2012, says time is still on the side of the striker who famously printed ‘Why Always Me’ on his City shirt.
Balotelli has scored 14 goals for Lille, the club he joined from Liverpool on a free last summer after a season-long loan at AC Milan, this season.
And Mancini, talking about the man man who has so far cost £59million in transfer fees, told TMW Radio.
“Mario is a really good kid, but a bit ruled by his instinct.
“He does something daft, but [this]can happen when you’re young.
“He has so much quality that, when he started, he should’ve been at the level of Ronaldo. If he isn’t there now, then at least some of that is his own fault.
“Now he is 26 years old and can do a little more.”
Balotelli also joined the radio show, and said: “When we won the Premier League title with Manchester City is my happiest memory of Mancini.
“Having said that, I have many memories of the coach, both at Inter and Manchester City, mostly of him telling me off!
“I had a few problems over the last two seasons and played really badly. Now I am back on track, let’s say.”