Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli and Ibrahimovic played together at Inter Milan. Getty


  • Agent says former Liverpool outcast needs to be more professional.
  • Italian blasts Pep Guardiola for his treatment of Manchester United star at Barcelona.

Mario Balotelli would be one of the world's best players if he had the perfectionist tendencies of Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to Mino Raiola. The prestigious super-agent opened up about two of his most famous clients during an interview with Cadena Cope, where he also blasted Pep Guardiola over his treatment of the Swedish legend during their time together at Barcelona.

Raiola has enjoyed a fruitful summer mercato, being the man behind Manchester United's signings of Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan before overseeing the transfer of Balotelli from Liverpool to Nice.

Both Ibrahimovic and Balotelli moved as free agents. Yet, while Raiola was never short of suitors for the former Paris Saint-Germain striker, he was only able to find "Super Mario" a new club in the dying days of the window, following two disappointing campaigns at Liverpool and AC Milan.

But Raiola revealed the difference between the pair is not talent but professionalism.

"Zlatan is more demanding, he is much more of a perfectionist than Balotelli, in his professional life and his private life. If Balotelli was like Zlatan, today he would be one of the best players in the world," the agent said. "I am very happy to be Zlatan's agent. I am more than their representative. It happens with other clients. With Balotelli [I have a similar relationship]. Balotelli is different though. Players are like children. Not everyone has the same relationship with their parents but every child loves their parents."

Ibrahimovic is one of Raiola's biggest protégés. Accordingly, the agent still holds a grudge against Guardiola, due to the current Manchester City boss developing a poor relationship with the Swede in their time together at the Nou Camp.


"I do not like Guardiola as a man. He's not my type. I like people with a different character. I am honest. Everyone knows what happened with him and Zlatan at Barcelona. I do not hate him but I do not like him. He is a good coach but his football seems boring," he said. Asked if he could do business with the City boss, he responded: "I'm a professional. I can not block the career of a client because of my feelings [towards a manager] but I think Guardiola has no balls to sit with me."