Dortmund duo reveal Balotelli respect
- Thu 06 Dec 2012, 8:33AM
- Posted by Mark Booth
Mario Balotelli didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes when he came on as a substitute in the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday night but two Dortmund players have moved to praise the Italian.
Roman Weidenfeller and Mats Hummels have revealed their admiration for the City striker and both believe that some of the media attention doled out to Mario is unfair.
"Balotelli has a special meaning for me, my brother and my friends,” said Hummels, who swapped shirts with Balotelli after the match.
"I've had the order to get a shirt from him for two years. It did not work out after the first match and after the Euro semi-final when he scored twice against I had other things on my mind.
"He's a favourite in our group of friends. We think he's a cool guy, a great player. I don't believe that all the stories you hear about him, are that bad."
Meanwhile, Dortmund’s captain and goalkeeper was involved in a brief confrontation with the forward at the Etihad Stadium but that moment seems to be water under the bridge now.
"I feel a little bit sorry for him because all the supporters whistled," Weidenfeller told reporters. "He doesn't deserve that, he's a sportsman like everybody else.
"Of course everybody remembers how he scored against Germany, how he stole our victory in Manchester.
"But you have to admit that he's an extraordinary player. I think it's cool how he isn't influenced by anybody. He gets his share of beatings by the press but he keeps going his own way."
...Roman Weidenfeller on Balotelli...
Elsewhere, City and Argentina full-back Pablo Zabaleta has conceded that he is at a loss to explain why City didn’t perform in the Champions League
Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Dortmund confirmed that City would miss out on a Europa League spot and the defender is still trying to come to terms with what happened.
“To fail in two consecutive years to reach the Champions League group stage is too much for a club like ours. Everyone is responsible,” Zabaleta admitted in today’s Sun.
“It turned into a disaster and we did not deserve to go through. We are in shock over it. We did not perform at our best.”
Finally, rumours that Martin O’Neill is keen on bringing John Guidetti to the Stadium of Light on loan in January appear to have re-emerged.
The Swedish striker is reportedly seen as the perfect man to kick-start the Black Cats’ stuttering league campaign.
“O’Neill tried to sign the 20-year-old in August but the Sweden forward was struggling after a paralysis virus which he picked up in April,” writes Simon Jones in the Daily Mail.
“However, Guidetti, who scored 20 goals in 23 games in Holland for Feyenoord last year, is on course to be fully fit for the next window.”
We’ll bring you news of any confirmed incomings and outgoings first here on mcfc.co.uk.