Keisuke Honda has opened up on the time he spent playing alongside Mario Balotelli, claiming the Italian was “a huge talent, yet he did nothing to improve”.
Balotelli has endured a turbulent 15-year career which includes spells at Inter Milan, Manchester City, Liverpool and Milan before his stock plummetted amid a loss of form in front of goal.
Honda saw the Italian striker’s self-destructive tendencies up close at Milan, and believes his lackadaisical approach behind the scenes ultimately prevented him from fulfilling his potential.
The former Rossoneri star told Gazzetta Dello Sport of Balotelli:
“A huge talent, yet he did nothing to improve. I wanted to change his daily routine:
‘Mario, trust me. If you want to become the best you have to train hard.’
“He looked at me with a straight face and the next day he showed up at the gym 40 minutes before the session. Also the following day. By the third, he was already bored. That’s Mario.”