Mario Balotelli was an extraordinary talent as a youngster.
The Italian striker made his debut for Lumezzane in the Italian third tier at the age of just 15.
That prompted Inter Milan to sign him for €340,000 a year later.
The former, however, was not very impressed with Inter’s new signing.
Balotelli, in an Instagram Live chat with Fabio Cannavaro, revealed how Ibrahimovic reacted to seeing him play in training.
Balotelli was just 16 when he trained with Inter for the first time, but he’s recalled how the Swedish star used to tell him he should quit football because he wasn’t good enough.
“When I arrived to Inter’s senior squad I was 16,” he said, per Gianluca Di Marzio.
“One day he stopped by and said “You think you can play here? Do today’s training and then you don’t play again.
“Every time on the pitch he told me you are no good, forget about football and study.”
Ibrahimovic really is a savage. He just doesn’t care what people think about him, does he?
Balotelli was just a teenager and was trying to make a name for himself in football, but Ibrahimovic was telling him to quit before his career got going.
It’s unknown why Ibrahimovic said this. Maybe he was scared Balotelli would take his place, or maybe he was just trying to motivate him to prove him wrong.
Whatever the reason, Ibrahimovic’s comments didn’t have a negative impact.
That’s because Balotelli went on to make his debut for the club at 17. In three seasons with Inter, he scored 28 goals in 86 games and won the Golden Boy award in 2010.
Balotelli is currently at Brescia and has been linked with a move to Napoli, a move that the 29-year-old would welcome.
“I would be very happy there,” he said. “My daughter Pia would become an ultra leader, she supports Napoli. I always sing to her Brescia chants but she continues to support Napoli.
“When I brought her to the San Paolo she was so happy, hypnotised. It’s always emotional to enter in that stadium, but the most beautiful one is San Siro.”