Fergie on Balotelli and Raiola

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Sideshow Bob

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Ferguson: I flirted with the idea of signing Mario Balotelli in 2010

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he considered a move to sign Mario Balotelli before the controversial Italian striker signed for Manchester City.

It was five years ago and Ferguson was United boss when he was made aware of a talented young player who had emerged through the ranks at Inter Milan.

He thought about a swoop but was soon deterred when he started to make calls to other managers in Italy find out more about Balotelli's personality.

Balotelli joined City in August 2010, helped them beat United in the FA Cup semi-final before winning the Man of the Match award in the final against Stoke.

His most famous moment, however, was a penalty at Old Trafford in October 2011, the first goal in a 6-1 thrashing, before he lifted his blue shirt to reveal a message on his vest which read: 'Why Always Me?'

It was soon after he had been in trouble with police for lighting fireworks in his bathroom at home, causing considerable fire damage.

The moment and slogan came to symbolise his time in English football, more memorable for his cheeky smile and off-field antics than anything he did with a ball, beyond an exquisite penalty taking technique.

Balotelli won the title and the FA Cup in two-and-a-half years with City but returned to Serie A with AC Milan in January 2013, before a £16million transfer to Liverpool in the summer of 2014 which proved disastrous.

He scored only once for the Anfield club during last season and re-joined AC Milan on loan in the summer.

Ferguson it seemed had a lucky escape, not only from Balotelli, but also from more dealings with his agent Mino Raiola.

'There are one or two football agents I simply do not like and Mino Raiola is one of them,' said Fergie. 'He and I were like oil and water. I distrusted him from the moment I met him.'

It was Raiola who became Paul Pogba's agent and supervised his move from Manchester United to Juventus when the midfielder was 18.
 
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