The Adana Demirspor striker was undoubtedly talented at his peak, but did he really have the potential to reach Ronaldo and Messi’s level?
Mario Balotelli is ‘100 percent sure’ that he had the quality to reach the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The words ‘what if’ will always resonate with Balotelli. His talent was unquestionable in his youth, but his attitude both on and off the pitch and disciplinary issues plagued him early in his career.
Now 31 years of age, the former Inter Milan and Manchester City star plays for Adana Demirspor in the Turkish Super Lig.
‘My quality is the same level as these people’
In a conversation with ex-City teammate Nedum Onuoha, however, Balotelli was reminded of when he claimed to be just as good as Ronaldo and Messi during his time at the Etihad.
Speaking on The Athletic about that claim, Balotelli said: “I missed some chances to be at that level.
“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.”
Balotelli spent two-and-a-half eventful seasons at City between 2010 and 2013, winning one Premier League title and the FA Cup.
He has since played for AC Milan, Liverpool, Nice, Marseille, Brescia, Monza, and currently Adana Demirspor.
The Italian has scored a decent 10 goals in 22 league games in Turkey and hopes to improve his tally when Adana Demirspor visit Yeni Malatyaspor on Friday. The visitors are favorites for all three points, with odds starting at 1.90 at the time of writing.