Sergio Aguero biography: 'Mario Balotelli and Roberto Mancini were like father and son...who would kick lumps out of each other'

Aguero's book, 'Born to Rise' is released on Thursday

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The Independent Football

The Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has shed light on the complex dynamic between Mario Balotelli and his former manager Roberto Mancini, describing how the two were “like father and son”, albeit a father and son who would “kick lumps out of each other” on the training ground and insult each other in front of the squad.

In his official biography, “Born to Rise”, which is released on Thursday, Aguero devotes as much space to Balotelli as any of his City team-mates or managers, describing how the player would throw food around in the canteen and was often followed to the training ground by the police.

Aguero says: “His [Balotelli’s] relationship with Mancini often made me smile. They would fight like cat and dog during training and then walk off with their arms around each other’s shoulders. They would swear and shout at each other, but later they’d be like father and son.

“Quite often we’d have five-a-sides in training and Mancini would join in. He would make sure he was on the opposite side to Mario so they could wind each other up. He’d tell Mario and the rest of us that he wasn’t the manager in the game, just another player.

“He said we could say what we wanted to him and it would be fine so the game would begin and Mancini and Mario would be at each other, kicking lumps out of one another and shouting abuse until the final whistle when Mancini would say, ‘Right, I’m your manager again, now!’

“Mario would say, ‘You were s*** when you were a player … and it was a lot easier then than it is now.’ Mancini would say, ‘You wouldn’t have been able to play then or now!’ It was comical. Mario would go away and sulk for a couple of days and he was just like a little kid. I miss him being around the place because even though he was a little crazy, he was a great character to have around the dressing room.


“I was sorry to see Mario leave because I think the world of him and I’m happy that we are still regularly in touch. I was injured when we were playing Barcelona at home in the Champions League and watching the game from the stand when my phone went off. I didn’t recognise the number but I answered it and heard, ‘Hey! It’s Mario! How’s it going d***head? Come on City, come on City!’ – and then he just hung up!”

Aguero said that Balotelli was prone to misbehaving “because he thought he could … he’d kick the ball away in different directions just to be silly, or he’d throw cheese over people when he was sat in the dining room”.

Aguero says that none of his team-mates were aware that Balotelli had his famous vest emblazoned with ‘Why Always Me?’ on underneath his City shirt for the 6-1 derby win over Manchester United in October 2011 - and had they known he would have been told to take it off. He also said that Greater Manchester police were occasional visitors at the club’s Carrington training ground to see Balotelli.

Aguero says: “He [Balotelli] woud say things like, ‘The police have just followed me all the way to the training ground and want to talk to me,’ and I’d say, ‘No wonder! You’ve probably just broke the speed limit or bumped into somebody!

“Sometimes he’d get a message from reception saying the police wanted to speak to him and he’s say ‘F*** the police!’ Then he’d say that he may have driven past the police pretty quickly and that could be the reason. He was always seeking attention.”