Mario Balotelli and controversy go hand in hand.The former Premier League star once again captured the attention of the football world with the players that he has chosen for his Ultimate playing XI. The former Manchester City forward stunned fans worldwide when his list didn’t include Manchester United icon Cristiano Ronaldo in it. The 31-year-old included just two players from the Premier League and picked Brazil legend Ronaldo Nazario to lead the line with Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi.
He was recently asked to name his ultimate starting XI while on a Puma Football Instagram chat with former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Balotelli, who currently plies his trade for Turkish club Adana Demirspor, picked Messi and Nazario as the two strikers. However, there was no place for the Portuguese captain Ronaldo, despite the star striker having scored a remarkable 688 goals in 917 games.
His list also included former team-mates in the Premier League — Yaya Toure, who played with the striker at Manchester City, while Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard featured as midfielder. Balotelli also had a strong Italian presence as the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Cassano were included in his ultimate XI.
The playing XI also included several Brazilians.Other than the legendary former striker Nazario,Julio Cesar, Maicon, Maxwell made the cut.
Here’s a look at Balotelli’s Ultimate XI in football:
Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar
Defenders: Maicon, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta, Maxwell
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure, Antonio Cassano
Strikers: Lionel Messi, Ronaldo Nazario
Balotelli commenting on his teamfurther in the conversation with Henry said, “Pirlo guarantees you ten goals a year, Yaya can do it all.” The Italian concluded by stating that he has a good team even after excluding players like Henry and Ronaldo, DailyMail quoted the Italian.
Even though Balotelli elected to leave out the Portuguese talisman, fans do not agree with his judgment. Ronaldo has been at the top of his game for more than 15 years now. Considering his age (36), Ronaldo is currently playing in the Premier League top flight and the five-time Ballon D’Or winner hasn’t stopped scoring goals yet.